TO WHAT EXTENT DO CURRENT MARKETING PRACTICES REFLECT THE ORIGINAL OLYMPIC VALUES?
Price, Christopher, John
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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According to Lamartine and DeCosta (2002) the Olympic Games and its organisers, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have been widely criticised over the last three decades regarding its increasingly commercialised marketing campaigns. Businesses are becoming engulfed with the prospect of using the Olympics as an advertising medium (Shank, 2009). Although this may offer a surge in revenue it could be argued that it degrades the values associated with the Olympic Games. This study aims to explore the current marketing practices used at the Olympics, and how they reflect the original Olympic values of the ancient Olympic Games. Through this means it will become apparent if the Olympic Games have become a marketing phenomenon rather than following its purpose of promoting Olympism globally. This study requires comprehensive research into the marketing strategies at the Olympic Games, using information from past and forthcoming Games, including London 2012. For research purposes it is also vital to understand the original Olympic values, using qualitative data from the ancient and modern games. Once a thorough analysis of each is made, a discussion as to the extent in which they reflect each other will be viable. The IOC fabricates up to date official documents defending the marketing of the Olympic Games. For example the marketing fact file presented by the IOC (2010a) claims 'to ensure the independent financial stability of the Olympic Movement, and thereby to assist in the worldwide promotion of Olympism' (p. 5). Therefore the results of this study will require the use of independent sources, however it is also important not to completely discount official IOC documentation as it will provide valuable quantitative data. With a sufficient understanding of the Olympic Games and marketing, a forecast can be made as to the results. It is expected that there will be some marketing strategies in place that will follow the Olympic values and Olympism. However it is also probable that there are some anomalies that will arise. An initial suggestion is the Olympic sponsorship partners, and whether there is evidence of moral purity, endurance and physical energy, words Barron Pierre de Coubertin (1931) associated with Olympism.
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