Key Takeaways from Olympics Campaigns

Kantar-Millward Brown’s study for Olympics advertising, based on an extensive consumer survey for 2016 Rio Olympics, examined different Creative approaches to understand the creative approach that works best for sports events.

The Winning creative approach was seen to be Transcendental Narrative approach. Transcendental Narrative  advertising  ties in a purpose and positions the brand for a value or mission making the brand meaningful in a context that transcends the immediate brand portfolio. Transcendental Narratives are seen to resonate with a wider audience and deepen the audience engagement. Examples of Transcendent Narratives is Always campaign for Rio Olympics that generated 27 Million views on YouTube.

Among the different creative approaches used, the other approaches that seemed to work are the ones with Brand or Product Focus, Olympic Athlete Narrative as in the Case of Under Armour and Olympic Athlete featured as seen for Visa advertising. Though there are generational differences among the different approaches preferred.

  • 56 percent of 18-24 year olds favor ads that speak to the games in an upbeat, fun and humorous way
  • 43 percent of 25-34 year olds prefer ads that speak to the games and athletes in an emotional and moving way
  • 39 percent of Adults 55+ favor ads that are upbeat, fun and humorous. They are
  • also 2x more likely to prefer commercials that explain the product / offer when compared to 18-24 and 25-34 year olds


screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-11-11-amAthlete Narrative powered campaigns were seen to extend the reach of paid campaigns, as seen for Powerade campaign with Shakur Stevenson ads. The campaign idea can be extended with several video formats and video montages. The Athlete Narrative Powered campaigns that feature games in a humorous, fun and upbeat ways are likely to resonate with all age groups.

Olympic Athletes featured campaigns  without a narrative, as seen in the case of Visa advertising, provides flexibility to advertisers to feature athletes in different moods or in an upbeat manner to create the engagement. Brand or Product Focus ads do not tailor the ads for the event. They rely upon consistent messaging to communicate and may take significant time to build on the relevance. Strong audience engagement comes from the personal relevance of the brand, emotional resonance or distinctiveness.


Source: Kantar Millward Brown based on Millward Brown Digital / Lightspeed US Consumer Survey, August 2016 (n = 1005)