The XXII Winter Olympic Games in Russia is upon us. But what is making news among spectators is not the athletes but the toilets! And the fury is fueled by the ~$50 billion price tag, which make the Sochi games nearly 20% more expensive than the 2008 Beijing Olympics — the most expensive Olympics ever.
A reporter from the BBC, Steve Rosenberg, tweeted: “Seeing double in the Gentlemen’s Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre.” With one stall and two toilets, spectators will have to double up in the bathrooms and share the tp with only one toilet dispenser for two, awkwardly placed just out of reach for both.
Marketing is all about fulfilling consumers’ need and desires. One of the most basic needs and desires is privacy when needing to use the toilet. Unless, of course, you yearn for a desired closeness like in the old Saturday Night Live skit in which they featured “the love toilet”.
Culturally, it may be acceptable to share stalls in some areas of the world but with the diversity of the audience attending the Olympics, this is not being well received. As this is the first Olympic games being held in Russia since the break up of the USSR which hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics, it is important to make a good impression. But so far, the 2014 Winter Olympics has been plagued with controversy–from the outcry of corruption to overspending the budget, terrorist threats, and now having to share flushes. For Russia, hosting the Winter Olympics was intended to strengthen their brand and bring more tourism to the country. In our book, not understanding your audience’s basic needs is a GWH! W.T.F. (Winner, Toss-Up or Flop) FLOP. Hopefully, the actual games themselves as hero might help to alleviate some of the branding issues leading up to actual event.
So if you are heading to the Olympics, better prepare yourself for sharing the stall and passing the toilet paper. #GWHRealityCheck #Sochi