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China Businesscast: Olympics Marketing Part 4

2008 Torch Relay Route
This is the final part of our series on Olympics communications. In this episode I speak with the PR executive at Ketchum Newscan who is handling the Olympics campaign for Lenovo. He discusses the "digital press conference" used to announce Lenovo's design for the Olympic torch.

Not mentioned in this episode is that the media buzz following the torch announcement was drowned out by the news of Taiwan denying Beijing's torch relay plans. Though it is common for PR announcements to get swept away by sexier news stories, it still serves as a reminder of how politics is casting a shadow on the 2008 Olympics.


Olympics Marketing Part 1
Olympics Marketing Part 2
Olympics Marketing Part 3

Olympics Communications: Executive Summary

As some interviewee's have commented the Beijing Olympics are tied to national and even individual aspirations — a volatile context for which a marketing message. Moreover, laws regarding Olympics-related marketing are strict. Companies paying millions to be Olympics sponsors must worry about their messages getting lost in all the noise. For others, the difference between success and failure in an Olympics-related marketing campaign is the difference between finding a goldmine and hitting a land mine.

From a PR perspective, the Olympics is an opportunity to build national image and credibility, this is as true for China as it has been for other countries in the past. The stakes are high for China considering the emotional stake citizens have in the Games, as well as China's goals for affecting how the country is perceived abroad. This makes for an ominous prospect of a "PR crisis" occurring for China during the Games. In the blogosphere, the consensus is environmental problems and activism are the main threats. In terms of activism, the concern is about how the government will respond to the activists, as well as the activities of activists themselves. Notably, not many people are talking about terrorism.

As former ChinaBusinesscast interviewees have pointed out, the negative feedback effects of blogs and BBS's combined with online nationalism make PR crises in China particularly nasty. Any news worthy event that occurs during the 2008 Olympics will be magnified greatly on BBS sites in China. Most notably, this is will be the first Olympics held since blogging has become mainstream in China or anywhere else. Summer 2008 will be an interesting time for online media.

Links and Sources
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
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+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
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