Marketing around big sporting events, like the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, are fantastic marketing opportunities for businesses big or small.When it comes to marketing your business (or businesses) around events like these, it means exposing your brand to big crowds and getting excited with fans on a level that engages them. However, if your marketing strategy is not well researched and mapped out, it can do more harm than good. Although entertaining for others, it won’t be amusing to you – so plan, do your homework, follow the guidelines, and your business will be the winner in no time!Plan it outAn exciting idea is a start. To be a great marketing strategy though, the execution must be on point. Macca’s have had some amazing marketing campaigns. They’ve also had some doozies. During the 1984 Olympics, McDonalds came up with a “If the U.S. wins, you win” promotion. Sounds great, right? Well, the U.S. won 174 medals in total – probably way more than what Macca’s was anticipating, and so the stores had to give away a whole lot morrreeee freebies than anticipated. Rumour had it that stores were actually running out of Big Macs – free Big Macs that is!Research the hell out of itKnow your target audience inside out, keep on top of industry trends, give your customers what they want and you’ll have a winning campaign.During the 2012 London Olympics, Macca’s was at it again, but this time their campaign was nothing short of awesome. In a bid to leverage the healthy eating trend and excitement of the Olympics, McDonald’s created a “Win when USA wins Gold contest” . Athletes’ names were printed on products with 400 calories or less, and if the athlete won – you won too! Macca’s knew that their target market were not the athletic type, and so created a campaign that not only catered to this audience, but also to the wants of their audience – to be healthier, while still eating fast food. This is what good research and great execution looks like.Rules are there to follow… sometimes This is one of those cases where rules and guidelines must be followed. Otherwise you can face some hefty fines, and your business’ reputation has the potential to be irrevocably tarnished.As a general rule of thumb (whether it’s the Olympics, AFL, or any other event, company, or organisation) you cannot use their branding for your own or commercial use without explicit permission. So you can’t just copy and paste an Olympics image from Google and slap it on to your website, Facebook page or otherwise. Seriously, just don’t do it!As the big games in Rio are literally around the corner, here are some biggies that your business needs to follow.The Don'ts Make explicit references to the Games in your marketing material, Use the Games' artwork for commercial purposes, Run any promotion relating to tickets to the Games' (only the Games' partners and sponsors are allowed to do so).The Do's Brainstorm your marketing strategy with your business' stakeholders, Let the idea develop & tweak it until it's perfect, Always refer to advertising guidelines. For Rio advertising rules and guidelines - head here, Consult a professional, whether it's Zwift or another agency you may be affiliated with. There are quite a few more, but we'll leave it here as this list can get quite long.When it comes to marketing around events and holidays, it is always best to consult an expert. Zwift marketing is here to help your business round the clock.