What challenger brands could learn from the London Olympics opening ceremony


Wasn’t that a brilliant, inventive show Danny Boyle put on for the Olympics?

Beijing’s opening ceremony was a tough act to follow in terms of spectacle. And Boyle had a relatively modest budget of £27 million. So he needed to make his money work hard to create a memorable show.

Doesn’t that sound familiar? Unless you have deep pockets, and your brand is market leader (like Beijing is in the ‘spectacular opening ceremonies market’), you need to be creative with your money to stand out.

Boyle did that with storytelling, outrageous surprises and lots of humour.

His show had an attitude distinctively different from Beijing’s.

Yet it was on brand, reflecting Britain’s history and character.

Boyle’s paymasters could have played it safe, as so many marketers do, and just done a mini version of Beijing’s ceremony. But they clearly realised that wouldn’t do.

So they chose a film director who’s proved to be good at being creative on small budgets. And they cut him some slack, letting him do some of the most unusual things ever done in an opening ceremony.

If only more brand marketers would let their agencies be more creative, surprising, funny and charming. Then, I believe, their work would have more cut-through and be more memorable and effective.

Here’s hoping that you’re inspired by the Olympics to break some marketing records with your advertising.



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