Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: NBC Olympics Coverage and Fareed Zakaria


Brand Winner…

And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Winner: NBC Olympics Coverage


Loser:  Fareed Zakaria



Folks, there might have been some complaining along the way, but when it was all said in done, I believe NBC pulled off its Olympics coverage.

This having just been the London Olympics, it’s right to let a British paper tell NBC’s triumphant story (courtesy

TV coverage of the London Olympics was the most-watched television
event in US history, attracting 219.4m viewers, the network has said.

complaints during the Games of delays in broadcasting popular events
until primetime hours, problems with online streaming and edited
versions of the opening and closing ceremony, NBC said that more people
watched the 2012 Olympics on television than the 215m who tuned in for
the Beijing Games in 2008.

NBC said it also smashed online records, recording nearly 2bn page views and 159m video streams of its Olympics coverage.

a unit of cable operator Comcast Corp, paid $1.18bn for US broadcast
rights to the London Olympics, and executives said earlier this month
they expected to break even because of the strong TV ratings.

network, which showed a record 5,535 hours of sports and ceremonies
across multiple broadcast and cable networks and online, said its
primetime TV coverage averaged 31.1m viewers over the 17 nights of the

That’s right.  Despite all the carping –and clearly it wasn’t everyone– NBC did a fantastic job –and it’s a good thing they followed their own strategy, rather than trying to correct mid course because of complaints. 


If someone puts themselves forward as a truth teller and then is seen to steal from someone else, the brand is ruined…  It simply cannot survive the conflict.

That is what I believe has just happened to Fareed Zakaria, the CNN and Time commentator, Harvard PhD, sought-after speaker and trustee of Yale University.  Zakaria has been accused of plagiarism and suspended from his media work.

My sense is that this is the end of the road for Zakaria’s brand as a commentator and journalist.  How can it be anything else?  A few commentators, like David Frum, are defending him, but old-style journalists aren’t having a bit of it.  Here’s a great piece from the Baltimore Sun.

Most of the time crisis management can help pull a brand out, but I just don’t see this working for Zakaria.

And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.


TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY: If you believe your brand strategy will work, stick to it, give it a chance despite the naysayers.








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