Faster – Higher – Further

2015-05-11 –

The Olympic Games in August 2016 will celebrate sporting excellence across 205 different countries. Over 10,000 athletes in 42 disciplines will compete for 918 medals. After the football World Cup 2014 with its extensive media coverage, all eyes are once again on Brazil as it brings the diversity of this eagerly awaited and emotional mega event to the world.

Organisers expect 3.6 billion viewers worldwide to watch the action on giant screens, televisions, tablets, PCs and smartphones, while 7.5 million spectators will witness events live in the stadia. The Olympics also promise considerable action at the point of sale, through various promotional campaigns.


Just how the Olympics might look in store was the focus of discussion for around 40 designers from nine countries during the STI Group’s international design meeting at the beginning of March. Teams of designers had spent four months working on ideas and concepts that would convey the spirit of the Olympics at the point of sale.  

The brief: to generate POS ideas for different product groups or store formats, targeted at official sponsors of the Olympic Games as well as companies that want to embrace the concept on a smaller budget and without licensing.

Their output was of suitably Olympian proportions: over 300 models, concepts and 3D renders were presented during the meeting.

Five themes

Despite the cultural diversity of the participants and the different retail requirements of each country, the ideas broadly fell into five themes.

1. Create an experience

POS that just meets requirements is not enough. Excitement is the key. Brands and products are best showcased by creating emotional experiences; the shopper becomes part of the campaign at the POS and interacts with the brand in a more memorable way.

2. Connect with personalisation

‘Made for me!’ Unique, tailored products or the chance to customise and configure products themselves can be very exciting for consumers. Everyone likes to feel valued.

3. Attract with cross-category merchandising

Successful retailers no longer just sell products, they sell solutions: a set of products tailored to customer needs. For the Olympics, a typical challenge might be: what is the best thing to bring to the party?

4. Keep it simple using modular systems

Tailoring a concept to different target groups or store formats can increase complexity and campaign costs. Modular POS concepts help brand managers to avoid falling into cost traps by offering standard items that still allow creative and customised elements.

5. Build trust through sustainability

Responsible handling of products and resources remains central. Even temporary themes, such as the Olympics, call for sustainably-produced concepts that offer added value even after the campaign has ended.

Escadaria Selarón

The designers were inspired by wide-ranging sources: some focused on sports disciplines; others used the Olympic symbols as design elements, another group wanted to capture the Brazilian spirit in retail. The design team from Bluestar Group in Australia used famous architectural landmarks in Rio de Janeiro as a starting point for their concepts. One of these is the Escadaria Selarón, a stairway of 250 steps in the city centre, revitalised by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. He worked on ceramic tiles from 60 countries to create the unique mosaic that adorns the stairway.

‘The steps inspired us to design a cascading display, using individual trays that allow for flexibility and which can be assembled into one unit. As distribution costs are extremely significant in Australia, we ensured the components could be shipped flat-packed,’ says Sophie Wittl, designer at Sydney-based Bluestar.

Take a winning approach

Looking for ideas to make you a winner in 2016? We’d be happy to take you on a journey of inspiration at your offices or ours, complete with presentation or samples. Whichever suits, you can be sure of a personalised discussion that is tailored to your requirements.

Just schedule a meeting with us.