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If you want to capitalize off the hype of the Olympics, it’s going to cost you. Companies like Coke and McDonald’s pay over $100 million to sponsor the games — but what if there was a backdoor? It turns out, sometimes there is — and by studying the way through this secret entrance, you too can apply a few strategies to elevate your media coverage.

Pokémon Go was the media darling upon its launch, but the hype machine has quieted in the past few days. Olympic athletes that play the game began tweeting their disappointment that the game is not available in Brazil.

Olympic silver medalist, diving - USA

Olympic silver medalist, diving – USA

Olympic kayaker - UK

Olympic kayaker – UK

Translation: “Sorry guys no #pokemon in the Olympic Village” Olympic canoer - France

Translation: “Sorry guys no #pokemon in the Olympic Village”
Olympic canoer – France

By using the #Rio2016 hash tag, these influencers are aligning Pokémon Go with the Olympics, but Niantic’s response was nothing short of brilliant:

Pokemon GO Tweet

We may never know how long this launch has been planned, but the timing is a very slick marketing move because:


  1. It puts the product in the hands of massive influencers. All eyes are pointed squarely on Rio for the next 16 days, and fans following their favorite athletes will definitely hear about their experiences at the games. But they will also likely hear about the rare Pokémon that was just captured at Copacabana Beach. When you cultivate brand loyalists among influencers, the awareness they build for you is spectacular. Timing it to an event when that influence is at its peak takes it to the next level.


  • It puts the product right in front of the hungry media. Reporters are swarming Rio, hungry for stories to tell. As they encounter fans and athletes with their heads buried in their phones playing Pokémon Go, it’s hard to imagine they will be able to resist reporting on it. Look at videos and photos coming out of Brazil — you’ll see people in the background playing the game. Conferences and trade shows have the same atmosphere, loaded with reporters actively searching for stories. Getting your product into the hands of attendees signals the media that it must be worth covering.


  • Capitalizing off positive and aligned brand equity. Not all events are created equally. The Olympics are a perfect venue for Niantic to publicize Pokémon Go because the games share benefits like bringing people of all nations together for sport, the spirit of competition, putting in the hours to achieve best results, and a pursuit that is healthy and positive. When seeking partnerships, tapping into values that align with your own ensure that your message is on target and your market positioning goes where you want it.

Next time you see an event that would be a perfect venue for your company or brand, ask yourself if there is a backdoor in before crunching sponsorship numbers.