4 x Luxury Olympic Activations: Rio 2016


Daniela Aroche | August 11, 2016

This month, with all eyes on Rio in the midst of the 2016 Olympic Games, many luxury brands will be looking for a way to draw some of the limelight towards themselves – eager to capitalize on the intoxicating consumer buzz that is sure to surround the event.

However, as has been highlighted by various media outlets of late – the Rule 40, Bye-law paragraph 3 of the Olympic Charter states that only approved sponsors may reference “Olympic-related terms” from 27 July until midnight on 24 August – thus blocking hundred of brands from explicitly emphasizing their connection to the Games via competitors, coaches, trainers or officials who may also be ambassadors of their brands.

Nevertheless, these rules haven’t stopped innovative luxury players and service providers from looking beyond the basic sportsman plug to leverage the Olympics via imaginative initiatives which link to the iconic, global event – not just in Rio itself, but all around the world.

Below are two luxury Olympics-themed initiatives which have caught our eye.

London: Limited Edition Luxury x Tailored Cuisine

In London, upscale bar and karaoke venue Bunga Bunga has transformed into the city’s ultimate Brazilian hub, featuring an exclusive Olympic-themed pop-up in their upstairs South American-inspired beach shack Cocobananas.

The pop-up includes a Caipirinha bar, a dedicated Olympic-themed cocktail menu, POPS frozen Bellinis, and a Brazilian-inspired food menu created by Bunga Bunga’s head chef, Alexis de Naray and the talented Natalie Salmon, the Latina Cook, in addition to Samba dancers.

The venue also hosted an official Olympics opening ceremony party on Friday, 5th August, with a closing ceremony party to take place on Sunday, 21st August. The pop-up has also been made available for private hire during the Olympic games.

Bunga Bunga Cocobananas Bar

Rio: See & Be Seen

In the heart of the Olympic city itself, Soho-based production and consultancy agency NP+Co has introduced ‘The Lodge Rio’ – a members-only pop-up, conceived to offer luxury brands, groups or individuals a sophisticated and perfectly positioned space to “entertain to a super-premium level in Rio during the Olympic Games”.

With past projects that include a pop-up “bakery” with a speakeasy bar for Grey Goose vodka, and a party for Miu Miu at London’s In and Out club, NP+Co is well-versed in delivering corporate hospitality with a twist and promises to deliver “An experience that is tastefully and emotively representative of Rio and Cariocan culture”.

As Nigel Peters of NP+Co puts it: “Corporate hospitality during global sporting events tends to be formulaic, overtly branded and lacking in local culture.” Peters adds; “This opportunity to collaborate with local talent and create an environment representative of and respectful to Brazilian and Cariocan culture is genuinely exciting.”

The Lodge Rio

On the other end of the spectrum, luxury brands officially associated with the Games have also been pushing their connection with the event.

Paris: One To Watch

Veteran Olympics sponsor Omega partnered with luxury department store Printemps for its “Omega Loves Printemps” pop-up, which opened on June 27 and will run throughout the Games at the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris.

Showcasing its 27-year alliance as the official timekeeper of the Olympics, the pop-up will feature footage of key moments from past Olympics, highlighting Omega’s role in the Games, and how its precision timekeeping has helped determine winners.

The temporary display also includes a photo booth enabling consumers to compare their body shape with an athlete’s, and showcases a selection of Omega’s timepieces, including the limited-edition Seamaster models for this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, in addition to a series of watchmaking workshops run by Omega experts, offering an insight into how the Swiss watches are made.

Omega loves Printemps

Brazil : The Wearable Connection

In a nod towards wearables with an Olympic twist, watch brand Swatch recently partnered with Visa to introduce an NFC-enabled timepiece in Brazil, which enables consumers to pre-load funds into their associated bank accounts and make contactless payments.

The Swatch Bellamy watch, which debuted in China and Switzerland earlier this year, is now available for purchase across Brazil and follows Visa’s earlier introduction of payment ring for Rio 2016 Olympic Games athletes, which enables them make purchases by tapping the accessory against any NFC-compatible terminal.

As well as eliminating the need to carry around cash or physical debit and credit cards, the release of the Swatch Bellamy also ties in with this year’s aim to make the Rio Summer Olympics the most technologically savvy Games thus far.

Additionally, in June, Swatch joined forces with Brazilian bank Bradesco to roll out the NFC-enabled Pulseira Bradesco Visa band, with a handful of spectators and fans selected to receive the band – operational at more than 4,000 Visa-enabled contactless terminals stationed around Rio.

Swatch Bellamy x VISA