London 2012 Paralympics Games turned out to be quite successful as compared to other previous Paralympics or even Olympics. The main objective of the organizers was to make this event to be the first to ever to have the appeal of the mass market. It is clear, then, that the success of this event associated with a change in the perception of the people about Paralympics over the previous years such as Beijing in 2008 and Athens in 2004. The difference basically lies on the disparity on how marketing campaigns for Paralympics were done previously and in 2012. The stakeholders in organizing this event also had huddles to overcome just as in the previous years such as discrimination towards disabled people. The main aim of this paper is to discuss how people’s perception of Paralympics Games had changed over the years and the role played by marketing relationship on this achievement.
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It is surprising that prior to 2012 Paralympics, people did not have experience on disability since it was rarely shown on the screens and therefore there was no adequate knowledge or even interest on the Paralympics sport. People lacked confidence and were more anxious whenever disability sport was talked about. The minds of people had been accustomed to seeing disability as inability but with time this mentality was replaced to see it as ability and excellence leading people to admire them rather than the interaction with able-bodied people being that of sympathy, fear or pity. The sense of discomfort experienced while watching games for people with disability had greatly reduced (Horsestalk; 2013, n.p.).
It is clear that there was need to step up marketing before the London Paralympics games. For instance, in previous campaigns marketing did not include overseas destinations which would have attracted foreign participants to the UK. This was done by attracting people using awareness of features such as tourism destinations and provision of incentives and opportunities for those who would visit Britain in the 2012 Paralympics. Previously, family and friends were not officially invited mainly through a film of about 3D Britain campaign in which members of the public will be allowed to access some of Britain’s finest landmarks as can be seen in a film about the 3D Britain campaign .The media was not previously as much as that used in 2012 which involved populating online media with London 2012 Games-related comprehensive features as well as strengthening international media relationships (The invitation from the industry n.d.).
One of major controversies indicating discrimination of the disabled was the banning of Pictoririus from taking part in able-bodied competitions in 2007 since less energy than able bodied people would be spent by him when using Cheetah blades, a German Sport University research claimed. The question is about the role of advanced prosthetic technology applicable in Paralympics games which empower the disabled more than the able bodied competitors (Wolpe; 2012, n.p.). In addition, the Paralympics Movement in 1948 confronted the cruel policies which made it impossible for people with disabilities participating in disability sport. The position of the people with disabilities in the developing world still remained precarious over the last Paralympics games. However, the Paralympics Movement has been on the lead helping the disabled overcome barriers hence giving them a chance in competitions (Novak, pp.47-48).
Marketing was done in the past Paralympics games only that the strategies have changed and are more advanced. For instance, the use of the internet for marketing was not exhaustive; Twitter had not taken root, Facebook in which contests and polls were to be carried out was not yet identified for that purpose. In Athens 2004, there was no idea of ‘video-on-demand’ and no one would use online to check for competition results (Andrea; 2012, n.p.). The sponsors provided large sums of donations which were used to meet the cost of marketing and adverting. The organizing committee played a big role in putting together all the ideas that would make marketing of these Paralympics different than all others before. It was also an opportunity for the government to boost its tourism opportunities.
The London 2012 Paralympics games became more successful than all the previously held Paralympics due to new strategy of relationship marketing and other forms of marketing campaigns. There was maximum utilization of the media in reaching out to overseas, invitation of friends and families of the participants as well as provision of incentives such as access to rare tourism site. All this involved using the latest technologies which can create relationships very first and in the most appealing manner.
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