The Tokyo Summer Games kick off soon, and for 16 days, the whole world will be watching. Creating themed promotions and events can be a great way to connect with customers and drive traffic during the games.

Understand the Rules

Just like the Big Game and the College Basketball Tournament, use of the Summer Games' official name and many other related phrases are prohibited for any business that is not an official sponsor. But just because the language is restricted doesn’t mean you can’t attract fans. You are allowed to share your personal experiences and photos related to the Summer Games and have fans share theirs as well.

As a small business, you may think that you’re too small for anyone to notice or care, but it’s still prudent to be aware of the guidelines, especially if you operate multiple locations or a chain. For further clarification, consult the official rules.

Host Viewing Parties & Trivia Nights

Now that you know the marketing rules, it’s time to start planning events. Watch parties are a great way to drive traffic around popular events, and trivia events are good for getting into the spirit during down times. Using approved language, advertise viewing parties or trivia nights on social media and in your newsletter. Create signage you can display around the restaurant to promote to existing guests, and send a note to local media who may be working on Summer Games-related round-ups to share with their readers.

Create a Summer Games Menu

You’ll want some fun food and drink specials to go with your viewing activities, so create a few menu items that highlight favorite teams (Go USA!), events, or athletes. One fun idea would be to create a fusion item for teams that are playing against each other, like USA vs. France in Men’s Basketball. This is a great opportunity to draw on the creativity of your kitchen and bar staff, so start brainstorming now to develop unique, easy-to-execute items that will please your game day crowds. Even if you don’t have TVs in your restaurant for viewing the games live, themed specials can be a great way to connect with fans during this time.

Try a Social Media Promo

Encourage your guests to share their experiences with their followers online by creating a unique promo in which guests who post with a certain hashtag can win a prize. You could encourage guests to share a photo of a specific food or drink item on your menu to increase visibility and word-of-mouth advertising. Or, you can create your own contest post in which you share a picture of your ‘team,’ and invite your followers to tag their own ‘team,’ in the comments for a chance to win a prize. Make sure you are following any Instagram rules before you set up your contest!

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