A view from the games – PR Week interview

Alasdair Townsend & Patrick O'Neill from Brazilian PR agency, Sherlock Communications

PR Week recently ran this interview on us, asking our perspective on the Olympics from on the ground in Rio de Janeiro. You can read the original article here.

Sherlock’s adopted Brazilians soak up the atmosphere

Alasdair Townsend and Patrick O’Neill, the British pair running Anglo-Brazilian agency Sherlock Communications, have been enjoying swimming and fencing, and trying to ignore the doom-mongering.

Why have you gone to Rio?

Alasdair Townsend (pictured below at fencing competition): We actually have permanent bases in Rio and São Paulo so we have not had to come far. As an agency we specialise in helping international brands break into Brazil, bridging the cultural and commercial gap, and have a number of clients looking to capitalise on the Olympic opportunity.

Alasdair Townsend from Brazilian PR agency Sherlock Communications

Alasdair Townsend from Brazilian PR agency, Sherlock Communications

 

Given the build up to the Games, were you apprehensive about attending?

Patrick O’Neill: Absolutely not. We know Brazil and Rio de Janeiro and we knew the doom-mongering was exaggerated. There are lots of brands and companies smart enough to see through the negativity and realise it’s still extremely important to have a presence in the world’s sixth largest market.

Does it feel like the Brazilian authorities’ and Games organisers’ PR operation is running smoothly?

AT: After a largely ineffectual build-up, the opening ceremony was a game changer and the tone of coverage since has been largely positive. The main PR challenge now comes from the empty seats at some events, but that has less to do with the Brazilian authorities and more with the strict rules imposed by the IOC.

Which sponsor or other brands are shining through for you?

PO: While we like Samsung’s installations, none of the major sponsors have captured the cultural nuances and engaged audiences in the same way as Google. The stations are full of posters for Google Translate, translating Carioca colloquialisms into English.

What do you think will be your abiding memory of the trip?

PO: Our abiding memories will be being there to witness the incredible achievements of Michael Phelps [Patrick pictured below at pool], and particularly Rafaela Silva, along with the sheer feel-good factor evident among everyone we know.

Patrick O'Neill from Brazilian PR agency Sherlock Communications

Patrick O’Neill from Brazilian PR agency, Sherlock Communications

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