Marketing at the Olympics: Who’s Winning and What We Can Learn

Marketing at the Olympics: Who’s Winning and What We Can Learn

 In Content Marketing, Uncategorized, Video Marketing

This year, more than 1 in 3 people who say they rarely or never watch sports content, report that they plan to watch the summer Olympics, according to Think With Google.

What does this mean for marketers trying to reach viewers of the games? That it’s critical to think beyond sports-related content in order to appeal to a larger audience of Olympics viewers.

Unless you’re a massive global corporation, it might not be entirely feasible to sponsor the Olympics — but you can still take some notes from the companies that do. Have a look at these four examples of world-class Olympic marketing campaigns and the lessons we can take away from them.

P&G: Thank You, Mom

In this year’s edition of its now-classic “Thank You, Mom” series, Procter & Gamble showcased the strength and bravery of Olympic athletes’ mothers. These compelling ads originated in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and have made waves since their debut. The series has since grown into a full-blown content hub featuring articles, videos, interviews, and more.

The reason these ads are so memorable is because they use storytelling to evoke an emotional response and create an instant connection between the brand and their audience. The touching moments captured in the video inspire viewers to think about their own moms and the sacrifices they made.

While using emotion can be an effective tactic to connect with your audience, you should be aware of when buyers are (and aren’t) relying on emotion to make decisions. This blog post from Smart Insights discusses how you can combine emotional and logical appeal in your marketing messages.


GE: #DroneWeek

GE’s #DroneWeek video series provides an inside look at how GE technology is helping power the Rio Olympics. Featuring stunning aerial shots captured by drones over Brazil, the series launched in June, which helped the company build buzz even before the games began.

Much like GE’s other web properties (such as their Instagram and digital magazine GE Reports), the most interesting aspect of #DroneWeek is that it showcases something unique that only GE can offer. In this case, they’re giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put on a massive global event like the Olympics — something most people don’t get to see every day.

Even if your technology doesn’t power Boeing 787s, you can still apply GE’s tactics to your own marketing efforts. By highlighting what makes your brand unique, you can make a powerful impact on potential and existing customers and distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Samsung: The Anthem

The team at Samsung chose to promote the Galaxy S7 Edge phone in this two-minute video, which combines various world anthems into one song, sung by different people around the globe. Beautifully shot and deeply stirring, this ad captures the true spirit of the Olympics: bringing the world’s people together.

While the content of the video doesn’t discuss the product being advertised, its message of uniting people across borders ties back into the product, which is used to connect individuals through communication.

The video nicely illustrates the power of storytelling in marketing. As an audience, we crave stories; in fact, 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story. “The Anthem” is a great example of this — it demonstrates how to successfully attract, engage, and inspire your audience without referencing your products or services.

Visa & Uber: RioPOOL

Not as large-scale as the other examples in this post, Visa and Uber recently teamed up to launch a co-sponsored promotion called RioPOOL. While riding in an Uber carpool, riders could opt in to take selfies with sports-themed 3D filters and enter to win a surprise visit from an Olympian.

Given the world’s current selfie obsession (driven in part by silly Snapchat-like filters), this was a smart move by Visa and Uber. They capitalized on a hot trend (Snapchat has 150 million daily active users) and put a timely, topical spin on it. On top of that, the filters are also interactive and share worthy, encouraging riders to engage on a deeper level and share them with their friends.

Of course, it’s not easy to execute creative and effective marketing campaigns on a global stage. But these examples highlight four useful strategies that all marketers can adopt to improve their own campaigns.

Whether your campaigns appeal to human emotions, provide an exclusive look at your business, or incorporate a current trend, each of these examples demonstrates the importance of prioritizing your buyer’s interests to deliver a memorable and meaningful content experience.

For more resources on content marketing, including webinars, videos, and guides, explore the BrightTALK Academy.

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