Skip to content

This Week in Content Marketing: U.S. Olympic Committee Makes Huge Social Media Faux Pas


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss how Cisco Systems’ recent staffing surge fits into its ongoing journey toward content marketing self-discovery. Next, we explore how B2C brands are focusing on “micro-moments,” and relay our concerns about brands that mistakenly believe they are doing content marketing. Our rants and raves include an immersive live experience from Coca-Cola, and a huge social media mistake being made by the U.S. Olympic Committee. We close out the show with a This Old Marketing example from Nationwide Insurance.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on August 1, 2016; Length: 01:05:40)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes

1. Content marketing in the news

  • Why Cisco is “suddenly” seeking 200 skilled content pros (9:42): After a significant round of communications and marketing layoffs that took place last November, Cisco now plans to hire around 200 content marketing team members globally. According to an article by Contently, both staffing shakeups are the result of CMO Karen Walker’s vision for refocusing the company’s marketing model around content and establishing a unique voice in the marketplace. Robert and I are encouraged by the move, and we discuss how Cisco’s approach may also help the company integrate its existing silos.
  • How culture impacts brand attraction and engagement (20:45): An article on Bulldog Reporter describes a recent collaboration between the CMO Council and branding consultancy Fresh Squeezed Ideas, which explores ways consumer brands can stay relevant, authentic, and differentiated in a rapidly evolving and culturally complex global market. Robert and I discuss the study’s emphasis on the importance of brand attraction over brand recognition — a radical departure from the type of measurement that consumer brands are used to dealing with.
  • Is content marketing the path forward? (29:28): In a recent Forbes interview, Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner describes how rampant it has become that businesses believe they are “doing content marketing” simply because they are creating content in a particular format — like a blog or videos — rather than fulfilling the criteria that make it a unique approach. What I found to be most interesting was Brenner’s discussion of two critical differentiators, while Robert connected with Brenner’s vision of content marketing as an investment decision.

2. Sponsor (40:02)

  • Content Marketing World: Don’t miss the marketing event of the year, taking place September 6-9, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Join brands like LEGO, Bank of America, and Google, as well as other industry thought leaders, as they share insights, advice, and practical tips to help you address even your most complex content marketing challenges. Register to attend and use code PNR200 to save $200 off the price of registration.


3. Rants and raves (44:17)

  • Joe’s rave: Having recently visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, I was struck by the fact that people around the world are willing to travel and pay to have a totally immersive experience with a single brand. What’s unique about the exhibit is that it represents just how good a job Coca-Cola has done of leading the conversation around the micro-moment of happiness. As marketers, we should all look to focus our content experiences around the things we are passionate about and good at cultivating.
Marketers should focus their #content experiences around things they are passionate about says @joepulizzi Click To Tweet


  • Robert’s rant: Robert is steamed about one way that the U.S. Olympic Committee is failing to win a medal for sportsmanship: by prohibiting brands’ use of certain trademarked terms — like “Team USA,” “Go for the Gold” or even “Olympics” — on social media unless they are official sponsors of the 2016 Games. As this Adweek article describes, media companies are exempt from the restrictions, leading Robert to question the USOC’s narrowly defined distinction between brands and media.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (58:37)

  • Nationwide Insurance: Back in 1954, Farm Bureau Insurance Companies produced a brochure for its agents to hand out as a way to raise awareness and help families avoid common household causes of accidental injuries — the No. 1 cause of death among children in the U.S. The effort was virtually free of logos, advertorial content, or overt calls to action, focusing simply on providing information, tips, and resources parents could use to make their homes more kid-safe — including a pull-out pamphlet of emergency phone numbers (fire, police, etc.) they could post on the refrigerator for easy access in an emergency. Recently, the company, which is now known as Nationwide Insurance, created a new version of the brochure as part of its Make Safe Happen initiative. While the tone and imagery have been completely modernized (as you can see in the image below, which compares the covers of the two efforts), the fundamental idea remained intact. For more than six decades, Nationwide has recognized that parents and caregivers need tangible ways to minimize the risk of accident-related injuries more than they need to be bombarded by hardcore branding and promotional messages. It’s content that sells without doing any actual selling, which makes it an excellent example of content marketing — old and new.


For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

How do I subscribe?

itunes logostitcher logo