News organizations have been ramping up for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver with a host of digital campaigns they hope will inspire more online interest. NBC Universal, for example, is adding a variety of new high-tech and social media features to its main Olympics website - including the debut of DVR-like functionality.
Now, as the February 12 start date nears, other companies - ranging from Samsung Electronics to Visa to Microsoft to such nonprofits as the Canada Council for the Arts - are readying their online presence and operations as well.
Samsung Electronics - the official worldwide Olympic partner in wireless communications equipment - has just made available its Wireless Olympic Works (WOW) communications platform, an application meant to keep users connected and informed during the games. The app provides such information as Olympic news, schedules, results and medal standings - much of which was previously available only to official staff.
The application, which can be downloaded to Samsung’s Omnia II device or any Samsung smartphone that supports Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5 operating systems, includes Olympic Games information updates (mINFO), text-based Games status casting service (mLIVE) and Group Messaging service (mCOMM). It'll also allow users to send operation messages to large groups simultaneously, including schedule notifications, work orders and other services.
Microsoft is also approaching the Games from a news perspective, sending two winners of an online contest to report daily from the games alongside members of the credentialed press corps. They'll be equipped with the latest in Microsoft technology including Office 2010 Professional and Acer Aspire 4810 laptops to aid their reporting. Ten contest semifinalists will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair and online video stars Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld from CollegeHumor.com. The public will then vote for their favorite semifinalists online, and the winners will be selected based on the number of votes they receive. Winners will be announced at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10, 2009.
A Multi-Platform Campaign
Visa, a sponsor of the games for more than 20 years (and signed on for at least another eight), is launching a full-fledged global marketing campaign that includes TV, radio, digital and print advertising. The digital component will focus on behind the scenes pictures and interviews of athletes and their personal journeys, along with training videos, downloadable photos of athletes in action, and athlete training playlists with songs available for purchase - as well as other merchant offers. Athlete widgets will be available for download and posting on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
CODE Screen 2010
Canada, the eager Games host, is set to share its national and cultural heritage with the world when the spotlight turns to Vancouver. One of its initiatives to achieve this is "CODE Screen 2010." Called an "art gallery but without the tired feet" by its creators, it is a digitized and downloadable series of online exhibitions of Canada's contemporary artists. Users can configure the app to automatically display a fresh exhibition every two weeks counting down to the games.