I was listening to the CBC wrap-up of Olympics coverage this afternoon. The topic was along the lines of "Is our investment in the Olympics worth it". Apparently Canada spends about $22M on supporting athletes for the Olympics. I didn't catch if that was for summer sports, winter sports, or both. But I was amazed that there were a few people who called in to say they feel it's a waste of money. All I could think was that $22M is a pittance. The government wastes many more millions on far lesser programs. And how can we quantify the value of the inspiration that the Olympics provides? If watching athletes - Canadian or other - inspires anyone in the country to aim high, keep working hard on their trade, and be proud of what they accomplish, then surely that investment yields an incredibly healthy ROI.
This fits with marketing when it comes to the idea of 'creative'. We often preach about the importance of measurement in marketing, because far too many dollars are wasted on tactics and techniques that don't provide meaningful results. But we have to be cautious when it comes to our 'measurement, measurement, measurement' mantra - because sometimes it's hard to measure or put a value on a great idea that separates a company from its competitors. Just like it's hard to put a price on the value the Olympics provides to Canadians.