Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympic Chocolate

The Mars Family is brilliant. (I stand by my assessment of the Naked Cowboy as an idiot.) Why do I think the Mars family is brilliant? Long ago Forrest Mars crushed his competitor Milton Hershey by thinking globally. (This was way before global thinking was a given.) Milton was focused on selling his chocolate in the US. Forrest was busy building a global empire. And the company is still at it.

I had no idea what the official chocolate of the Olympics was until I Googled it - of course, it's Snickers (one of my personal favorites). But when you go to the official Snickers web site, there's no mention of this. Know why? Mars didn't do this for sales in America, Mars did this for sales in China. The population of the US? about 301,139,947 The population of China? about 1,321,851,888. That's just a BILLION more people. (That's a helluva lot of Snickers Bars.) And great global business strategy.

I love the Olympics - I went when they were in Atlanta (if you didn't, you missed a fantastic opportunity). I love the patriotism, but also the celebration of all the athletes. The energy of the Olympic Games is hard to describe - it's unlike any sporting event I've ever attended. Maybe it's because the whole world is there - celebrating our best athletes. Maybe it's because the whole idea of the Olympics is so inspiring. This is from the official Olympic website:

FASTER — HIGHER — STRONGER
These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition.

To better understand the motto, we can compare it with the Olympic creed :

The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight ;
the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.

Together, the Olympic motto and the creed represent an ideal that Coubertin (founder of the modern Olympics)believed in and promoted as an important life lesson that could be gained from participation in sport and the Olympic Games: that giving one’s best and striving for personal excellence was a worthwhile goal. It is a lesson that can still be applied equally today, not just to athletes but to each one of us.

Here's to Mars for excellence in business; to the Olympics for excellence in sport; and to the rest of us to never stop striving. Let the Games begin!!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

How inspiring.
As I witnessed the opening ceremony on TV last night, I was reflecting about how amazing it is that leaders of countries who will not gather in a board room to discuss differences will sit side by side in a giant stadium to watch athletes gather. All of the world is together during these two weeks. It literally boggles the mind!
Your point about Mars's marketing brilliance has helped me think outside the box ... plus I am hoping and praying that all of the world will think about ways that the Games can bring us together as human beings and God's children. We are from different nations but all in all from the same world. It is really something!