Media Analysis of the London 2012
Compared to the Opening Ceremony (8,026 mentions), the Closing Ceremony only received a total of 3,979 mentions on the same day and a day after the event took place. Yet the Closing Ceremony received less positive and negative coverage than the Opening Ceremony as both charts below show.
On 27 July, media outlets informed their readers about the American Jewish leaders and families of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered during the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich, Germany (245 mentions). The widows asked those attending the Opening Ceremony to stand in silence when International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Jacques Rogge would speak. The International Olympic Committee responded saying that it would honour the slain athletes at a ceremony in September for the 40th anniversary, but not during the Opening Ceremony. Israel’s sports minister threatened to stage a protest during the Opening ceremony to condemn the IOC’s decision not to hold a moment of silence.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, the most covered news stories on the Closing Ceremony were related to the British music during the ceremony (109 mentions), with George Michael (73 mentions) taking the lead by the British media. Media outlets highlighted the ceremony’s intention to give the best of British music and humour for every taste to the audience. The US outlets, on the other hand, mostly reported negatively on NBC’s decision to cut early from the Closing Ceremony to air a new TV show (231 mentions).
But what topics was Twitter associated with in the media? Compared to the previous Olympic Games, Twitter has been an important channel for information and discussion. The media referred to Twitter in connection with Athletes and Security most frequently, especially just before, during and after the Opening Ceremony.
A propos Twitter, an analysis showed that Twitter coverage on the Olympic Games 2012 actually dropped over time, as reflected in the chart below.
The Opening Ceremony was widely reported on by the traditional and social media, and the amount of coverage was closely matched with 6,973 mentions in traditional media with 5,951 in social media. However it is quite interesting to see that at the same time, the media was actually more focused on the athletes, although no particular story drove the coverage when it peaked on 27 July.
Also, a favourability analysis shows that the tonality of the media coverage on the Opening Ceremony was consistent in both media types.
Negative stories in both social and target media included the empty seats during a few of the games, news coverage on 182 activists on bicycles trying to break the Olympic Park’s security cordon and the Open Ceremony NHS’ dancing nurses described as “bizarre”.
Danny Boyle’s Open Ceremony, in particular The Queen’s own performance, was generally well received by the audience; receiving thus positive mentions.
As the first two share of voice charts show, comparing all WorldWide Olympic Partners between 1 and 23 of July, McDonald’s and Coca Cola were the frontrunners in both traditional and social media overall. However, taking a closer look, P&G – as the third share of voice charts illustrates – took 48% of the Twitter coverage during the same reporting period. McDonald’s and Coca Cola garnered 27% and 11% respectively. This is a bit unexpected as the Twitter sphere generally follows the trend shown in the traditional and overall social media space.
P&G’s global advertisement, “Kids”, received hundreds of tweets on 12 July, which explains the reason why P&G predominantly appeared on Twitter. The microblog’s community tweeted an article published by The Washington Post (11 July), which was originally written by AP. Dow Jones Insight Twitter sample showed the high peak on 12 July, reflected in the trend chart below. Although the Twitter community proactively tweeted The Washington Post’s article, little commentary was added. Thus, the Dow Jones Insight Favorability trend chart below shows a neutral or balanced score.
According to The Washington Post, although the commercial was praised by the media and described as touching and moving, a number of media outlets highlighted that the company has started to allegedly lose ground to fierce competitors such as Unilever. Moreover, P&G has started to shift its attention to less saturated markets since growth in the U.S. and other mature markets has slowed down. The uncertainty about the overall global economy coupled with high costs for commodities, such as fuel and packaging, has led the company’s net income to fall 16% and its overall market share slip 0.2 points. Despite the tough economic conditions, P&G expects the campaign to drive $500 million in sales. If this proves to be true, then the company truly deserves the gold medal for Olympic marketing. (The Washington Post, 11 July).
On July 16, two main news stories set the agenda on the Olympic Games all over the world.
“Athletes settle in to ‘Olympic village heaven’ after bus woes” (The Guardian)
Leading headlines highlighted the newly arrived athlete’s dissatisfaction with the transport in London, some of whom were caught in London roads’ maze for hours between the city’s main aiport, Heathrow, the Olympic Park and Olympic Village. U.S. hurdler Kerrong Clement tweeted “Um, so we’ve been lost on the road for 4 hrs. not a good first impression London”.
“G4S Olympics security described as chaotic and shambolic by police groups” (Wales Online)
Security was yet another topic of discussion when the media informed readers that G4S failed to provide enough staff for the Olympic sites, forcing the government to assign an additional 3,500 Armed Forces personnel to security work for the Games. The problem grew on July 16 when police were forced to step in to guard hotels around the country where arriving national Olympic teams were checking-in.
An analysis by Dow Jones Insight showed that indeed, despite the various variables analysed (such as ‘Tourism’, ‘Opening Ceremony’, ‘Ticketing’, ‘Infrastructure’ and ‘Sportsmanship’), ‘Athletes’ in the context of their arrival to London and ‘Security’ in connection with G4S peaked on July 16 in the international media, in both traditional and social media, as the two trend charts on the below illustrate.
In the wake of these two main news stories driving the conversation in the media this week, the present analysis will take a deeper dive into the media lanscape related to ‘Security’. A Dow Jones Insight Discovery chart revealed that the news around ‘Security’ had been prevalent in the media for quite some time, exploding on July 16. Over the past week, as the graph below shows, topics such as ‘defense ministry’ and ‘vast security operation’ rose 600% and 420% respectively over the previous week. Even the term ‘security mess’ rose over 129% compared to the previous week, indicating that the media was anticipating an issue.
Taking a deeper dive into the four regions, Canada, US, UK and Australia, and as the two share-of-voice charts below demonstrate, ‘Security’-related coverage was mainly discussed in the US and UK. The social media sphere was particularly active discussing the news.
Perhaps not surprisingly, compared to their US counterparts, the British traditional media was more unforgiving which is reflected in the negative spikes on July 16. The trend charts below compare the sentiment between the US and UK traditional media:
For my final look at The True Value of the Olympics for Official Partners, I feel it necessary to point out that not all sponsors have done as well as British Airways, BT and EDF.
Another trio, BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto, may find their partnering of the Olympics has backfired given the well organised and frequently covered Greenwash Gold Campaign. The organizers of Greenwash asked the general public to vote for the least environmentally friendly Olympic Partner. Who will get ‘gold’ in this competition remains to be seen, but what is clear is that BP, Dow Chemical and Rio Tinto have received very little, if any, positive Olympic coverage. Most coverage pertains to their questionable business practices.
I’ve focused the following charts on Rio Tinto as it was the one company of the three that responded to the allegations made against them. Rio Tinto wrote a very standard letter of explanation on corporate policy to The Guardian paper in the UK. As you can see from the weight of the negative coverage bearing down on the very small positive curve, Rio Tinto misjudged its social media audience, identified by the prominent spike in the Rio Tinto volume trend chart.