Olympic Opening ceremony is watched by millions of viewers from different parts of the world, where the hosting country tries its best to make it a memorable event. In the history of the Olympic games, the Beijing 2008 Olympic ceremony was the most spectacular event, which constituted months of planning, costing euro 65 million. China showed to the world its creativity and modernity in a disciplined manner.
When it comes to branding, a hosting nation needs to stick to its originality and true to oneself rather than imitating and embracing others.
Rio 2016’s opening ceremony is also remembered as one of the best opening ceremony representing two cultural references and also notably expressing national identity. The main attraction of the event was the Brazilian supermodel Gisele’s appearance walking with something unique.
The same trick was imitated in the London 2012 opening ceremony with the special appearance of 007 and the Queen, throwing national treasures out of the plane.
The hosting nation needs to blend cultural references alongside broader Olympic ideals like international unity. The host country must look to have a single performance in its opening ceremony showcasing different aspects of its organization into one single identity. Today most of the prominent brands focus mainly on their brand identity from billboards to packaging to television ad spots. Coca-Cola is the best example featuring one brand strategy show, with consistency.
It is always a challenging job for a host nation to work on similar challenges working on performance, references to the national culture, and also founding principles of the Olympic Games.
There are some unusual instances at the Olympic Opening ceremonies, where Vanderlie Cordeiro de Lima, who replaced ailing footballing legend Pele to light the Olympic Cauldron. In the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, De Lima was attacked while running the marathon by a drunken spectator. He was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship for his performance. It is still remembered as a memorable moment aggregated with national pride.
Rio 2016 came up with an environmental initiative, launching it in an opening ceremony at a center stage. We all are facing climate change and it is every country’s responsibility to overcome it strategically. Rio 2016 Olympic Opening ceremony was used to raise awareness about the issue. Brands may not be as effective to deliver the message, but if implemented with original content it is proved to have a long-lasting impact on the crowd.