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)


Answered: Your Burning Questions About Five Ways To Score At Olympics


Mobile devices make for 65 percent of all viewers for the Olympic games content, and YouTube viewers watched over 23,000 years of content in the last one year for the four most popular sports, athletics, gymnastics, diving and swimming and volley ball. For mobile NBC has a pop-up Snapchat Discover channel, planned during  the Rio Olympics. YouTube plans to  live stream video with 15 creators, signed up exclusively for the games.

Social Media sites are the popular go-to source for all conversations surrounding Key Sports highlights as seen for other major sporting events. The brand conversation surrounding Olympics, as tracked by Origami Logic has brought in 7.75 Million social media actions across the four major social networks. The initial tracking reports indicate that the top five brands leading in engagement are  Nike with 3 million likes, shares and other interactions. Under Amour followed at No. 2 with 2 million; Adidas with 2 million; Dick’s Sporting Goods with 164,000; and Ralph Lauren with 157,000.

Brand Olympics

Among the advertising campaigns the top scorers are  Always #LikeAGirl—Keep Playing, from the creative agency Leo Burnett, Minute Maid #doingood I See What U.S. Olympian Missy Franklin Has To Say from the creative Agency Doner and P&G Thank You, Mom from the creative agency Wieden+Kennedy.  Samsung Official TVC created by Leo Burnett and Visa, The Carpool to Rio from BBDO  make it to the ads leaderboard for Olympics, from April- June 2016.

Five Ways For Brands To Score At Olympics
Celebrate Friendship Through Sports

Conversation on Social Networks for Sporting events are for sharing or viewing moments of thrill, excitement and connecting with other sports enthusiasts. Use of characters and brand menmonics  such as Vinicus, the official mascot for Rio Olympics 2016, who is known to combine the agility of cats, the sway of monkeys and the grace of birds, can help audiences connect emotionally. Characterizing your brand campaign for sports lend another dimension to a popular sports theme. Brand identity that leverages the affinity for a sport with characterization brings in increased engagement among sports enthusiasts.


Brands can extend product features with the help of influencers and famous athletes to make the campaign memorable leveraging the influence and fandom of famous athletes.


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Visual Engagement Freebies


Visual posts are the lead engagement tactic on Social Media and creating freebies such as the stickers pack and freebies with a sports theme are a hit with users. Google’s research points out that 90 percent of the users are using Emojis to express their feelings. Users turn to social media for moments of celebrations for leading sports events providing brands an opportunity to engage fans with visuals for moments of victory on social networks.












Search Advertising

Live Video highlights for the Rio Olympics will appear in the search results and YouTube WatchCards, with Google’s exclusive tie-up with broadcast companies including America Movil, BBC and Japan’s NHK in more than 60 countries. Using Search keywords that are likely to make your campaign discovered with the newer features from Google, that are exclusive to the Olympics, according to the Official Google blog:

Discover the event schedule, medal counts, and athlete information in Search
Get results and view TV schedules in 30+ countries
Watch official broadcasters’ event highlights on YouTube in 60+ countries
Explore Rio and venues in Google Maps
Keep up to date with the latest search Trends from around the world


Live Video 

Live Video Highlights offer Brands opportunities to showcase winning moments that bring out the campaign message or brand attributes that foster the bond with your audiences. Visa’s campaign for Olympics “The Carpool to Rio”,  features Athletes as they strike, jump, cycle and swim their way to Olympics. Facebook’s Live Video is key to Visa’s marketing by enlivening the athletes’  stories to bring forth the similarities with the  brand attributes. The campaign’s video posts are used for brand activation with featured partners.





Brand Messaging and Brand Contests

Brands can associate with the games as non-sponsors with inspirational video and messaging. The brand conversation surrounding the message can be integrated with your existing campaign to engage viewers with your Olympics marketing efforts.

Hershey’s contest on Twitter invites users to share the message for Team USA with a Hashtag #HelloFromHome that could be your voice at the Rio Olympics.