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If you think about it, the Olympics and the military share a few things in common. Patriotic messaging and team work are essential for both entities. It is not surprising that both are looking for new and innovative ways to reach youth. The Olympics are starting to face a challenge in engaging youth as the current generation is growing up with so many entertainment options as well as changing views on who they are looking up to and find to be role models. The Olympics used to enjoy viewers, and especially youth anxiously waiting for the next games and relating to the athletes that they saw as role models and national heroes. Although that is still happening today, it is on a lesser scale and the Olympics are recognizing this and adjusting their marketing strategy to better reach today’s youth.
“The Best of Us” campaign is focused to engage youth and connect them to Olympic athletes and one another. They are imploring the use of user-generated content, digital platforms and online communities that aim to reach youth where they are spending most of their time. The use of athletes that have resonated with today’s youth, such as the gymnast Shawn Johnson will also be used. Capitalizing on social media, the “Best of Us” campaign hopes to gain buzz from bloggers and various other outlets that have the ability to make stories go viral.
If you’ve read one of my previous blog posts that talks about media increasing interest in public service http://majastevanovich.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/can-mass-media-increase-interest-in-public-service/ it talks about the decrease in youth getting involved with particular aspects of public service. What is very interesting is that this generation is known to have high civic values as well as be very sports minded. Which brings up the questions, why are both the military and the Olympics having a challenge of connecting to a large percentage of youth? Going back to the initial thoughts in this post, what the military and the Olympics share is the notion of patriotism. Patriotism and love of country are not the first thoughts that come to mind for the young demographic that is looking to identify themselves with brands, celebrities or athletes. Does the notion of patriotism need some re-branding to connect to today’s generation? It is interesting to think about especially for brands and entities that rely on evoking such feelings out of its audience. In the market place that is cluttered and saturated with so much messaging, is patriotism lost?