On August 5 Brazil is set to become the first South American country to host the Olympics. Some half million people are expected to join a city of 6 million inhabitants. While it has been well documented globally that Rio faces extreme challenges ( PRN, May 16), you’d not know it looking at the communications the Rio Olympics’ organizing committee is producing. The committee has a user-friendly, visually attractive website with stunning photos, press kits, news updates and social media links, among other PR tactics. Similar to many other sporting events, there is a festive and triumphant tone to the committee’s storytelling. While it’s understood that PR pros are expected to stress the positive aspects of stories, this must be balanced with at least some level of transparency. The committee’s lack of honest communications about the economic, social and health challenges facing Rio could become a negative story and perhaps reflect poorly on brands taking sponsorship roles at the games. At the least, the social and economic problems represent opportunities missed for brands on the CSR front.
Stories by Juliana Trammel