Going for Gold: Brands Get Olympic Fever

media agency group olympics advertising campaigns

Rio 2016 is just over a week away – here’s our three favourite Olympic-themed campaigns so far

It’s been four years since the drama and excitement of London 2012, but brands in the UK have still got Olympic fever ahead of next months’ 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Major sporting events such as the Olympics are a dream for marketers (unless they’re Russian…) and many brands will focus their entire summer budgets on the likes of Rio 2016 and the recent European Championships in France.

But, what exactly makes a good Olympic-themed campaign? At Media Agency Group we like to consider ourselves experts when it comes to capitalising on popular culture and major events with marketing efforts, so we’ve put together some of our favourite Rio 2016 campaigns so far. In third place…

BRONZE: Samsung & Jack Whitehall “School of Rio”

Samsung originally teamed up with Jack Whitehall for a campaign surrounding the Rugby World Cup, and the comedian is back to star in this new effort alongside a whole host of Olympians.

During the series of TV spots, Whitehall tries his hand at boxing, rowing with Sir Steve Redgrave and getting on his bike with Sir Bradley Wiggins. The aim of the campaign is to provide the general public with a way into the games whilst promoting the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones.

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Samsung, as an official Team GB sponsor, will also be filming live, virtual reality interviews with British athletes during the games in Rio as it continues to push its impressive VR offering.

SILVER: Nissan, Team GB & Facebook Live

Placing fans at the centre of sports-themed campaigns appears to be a continuing theme for the Olympics. Rio 2016 official sponsor Nissan created two films showing supporters from across the UK training with Team GB athletes.

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Gymnasts, rowers and Paralympic athletes starred in the films as they trained with members of the public, documenting the activity that took place on Facebook Live in February. During this event fans were given the chance to connect with athletes in real-time via the live streaming platform and experience the grueling training regimes tackled by the Olympians.

This campaign demonstrated innovative use of social media to connect celebrities with fans in real-time, and helped Nissan “further [their] success and engage more supporters during the Rio 2016 games.”

GOLD: Channel 4’s “We’re the Superhumans”

4’s Superhumans campaign was one of the success stories of 2012, capturing the attention of the Great British public as it promoted the channel’s coverage of the London Paralympic Games. Four years on its successor is set to become 4’s most successful campaign ever.

The initial success of this campaign stems from 4’s decision to premiere the ad on social media rather than TV. Digital video has grown exponentially since London 2012, and this change in strategy has allowed the ad to surpass viewing expectations – on Facebook alone, the video has over 26 million views at the time of writing. It’s already surpassed BBC’s “Greatest Show on Earth” campaign.

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In 2012 the campaign was launched on 78 primetime TV channels, reaching 50% of the UK audience. This time, the social media coverage has opened the ad up to 2.65 billion users on Facebook and YouTube alone. It’s a fantastic example of the impact social media can have when combined with a strong, emotive message. Check the ad out below, it’s well worth watching.

Have we missed your favourite Rio 2016 ad? Which brands are heading for gold and which deserve the wooden spoon for their marketing efforts? Let us know by tweeting us @MediaAG!
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