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Brands Turn Up the Tech in Pyeongchang

Brands Turn Up the Tech in Pyeongchang

4 Minute Read

  • Alibaba, Intel and Ralph Lauren implement leading technology at this year’s Winter Olympics in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
  • Intel enhances the fan experience with the world’s first 5G connected large scale event.
  • Brands must identify when to use innovation tactics; whether they doing so for the sake of “being innovative” and asking if the experience created is valuable to their consumers.

Korea is known as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. With prominent brands such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung being headquartered in Korea, the country acts as a global leader in the tech development. Olympic events take on the brand and spirit of their host country and sponsors can tap into that with a variety of tactics and activations. Given the importance of tech and innovation in the culture of Korea, sponsors have stepped up their game and incorporated tech into their strategy to target 655,000 consumers on-site and millions of viewers through broadcast. MKTG looks at how three brands are flexing their tech muscle at this year’s Winter Games.

Intel enhances the fan experience with world's first 5G large scale event, VR, drones and more.

Intel has signed a partnership deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until 2024. They have chosen the 2018 Winter Games to implement new technology that will enhance the experience for viewers. One of the biggest pushes from Intel is making the Olympics the world’s first 5G connected event. 5G is “about 100 times faster than 4G” (Fortune) and is the future of wireless connectivity. This is a massive move in the tech industry and Intel is using the Winter Olympics as a test and learn experience that will lead to an eventual global 5G roll out.

The tech industry is counting on the new capabilities: 5G will be important for developing artificial intelligence, drones, self-driving vehicles, robots and other machines that transmit massive data in real time.
— Sandra Rivera, VP, Intel

Intel is a B2B company and at large scale events with mass awareness such as the Olympics, it allows the brand to create a consumer-facing experience with their tech to show the benefits and use. Aside from providing 5G, the brand acts as tech support on the Olympic Channel website and is implementing new tech such as advanced instant replay software, drones for never before seen footage and offering the first Olympic virtual reality broadcast.

Alibaba uses the Winter Games to break into global markets and tests new cloud technology.

China’s largest e-commerce brand Alibaba dives deeper into their recent amount of sport sponsorship's (the brand has recently partnered with FIFA and World Rugby) by entering an 11 year deal with the IOC where Alibaba will be the Official Cloud of the Olympics. Being the Official Cloud allows the brand to provide elastic computing (the ability to have a variety of processing power, storage and bandwidth), data storage and collection, networking and internet security. One example of how the Alibaba Cloud will assist the Olympics is with data storage. All photos taken at the event can be saved on Alibaba’s Cloud which provides storage solutions for anyone attending the event. You can find more details on how the Cloud works at the Olympics here.

Alibaba now stands amongst other global Tier-1 sponsors such as Coca Cola. Alibaba can now branch out from their strong presence in the Chinese market to make a larger global impact by showcasing the power and efficiency of their cloud technology at their first Olympic event. This partnership not only allows Alibaba to showcase how valuable they are as the cloud provider, but can utilize this partnership in future games to become a global retailer for all Olympic merchandise as they are one of the world’s largest eCommerce brands.

Ralph Lauren creates wearable technology for the first time in Team USA history.

This year, the Games are forecasted to be the coldest in 20 years. Ralph Lauren took this opportunity as Team USA’s domestic sponsor and Official Olympic Outfitter to not only style Team USA during the opening and closing ceremonies, but to add a valuable piece of technology. For the first time in Team USA history, the Olympic team was seen sporting self-heating jackets that can be controlled with a connecting app.

This technology is said to be used in future lines from the brand and has received positive feedback from both fashion and tech websites. Here we see how a fashion brand and domestic Olympic Committee sponsor embraced technology in their approach at this year’s games.

Intel, Alibaba and Ralph Lauren turned up their tech through unique tactics to showcase their innovation at one of the most technologically advanced Winter Games. These are cases where showcasing tech skills is on-strategy. Organizations must identify where they do not innovate for the sake of innovation, but are creating meaningful value for consumers. Innovation for the sake of innovation is an empty shell – while a “tried and true” activation that is on-strategy will always win over off-strategy innovation.

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