How Brands Are Using Rio Olympics As A Marketing Strategy

Rio Olympics 2016

The build up to the Rio Olympics 2016 has been full of controversies. Firstly, concerns regarding the presence of the Zika virus in Brazil forced stars like Rory Mcllory (golfer) to drop out of the games. Moreover, the economic meltdown in Brazil had added fuel to the cloud of negativity hovering around the prestigious event. But on the other hand, as is the case with every global event, the Rio Olympics have turned out to be a gold mine for brands, who have built their marketing campaigns around the games.

Here is a list of brands that are leveraging the Olympics craze to market their products:

1. McDonald’s Using Video Contest

McDonald's #FriendsWin

As researched by the video analytics firm Visible Measures, marketing videos by brands in Rio Olympics 2016 are expected to generate three times the amount of views gathered by the two previous Olympic events. This amounts to more than 800 million views of branded video content for the year. And this is exactly what McDonald’s targeted. They partnered with broadcast companies of Australia and created a contest where children were provided with a chance to win a trip to the opening ceremony of the games. To participate, parents around the world curated videos portraying how friendship and good sportsmanship is important for their kids. The videos were then uploaded on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #FriendsWin. This proved to be an excellent opportunity for winners to meet their idol athletes and also for McDonald’s to create compelling fan content and further increase engagement on social media.

2. Samsung Using ‘Human’ Focus To Break Barriers

One of the best campaigns this year by Samsung aimed to break all geographical barriers and unite the world with its Olympic Advert titled – ‘The Anthem.’ The ad shows athletes and fans of various nationalities around the world singing their national anthems. Famous athletes like Tom Daley ( Britain – Swimmer), Shelley Watts (Australia – Boxer), Gabriel Medina (Brazil – Surfer) and Alysia Montano (USA – Runner) also feature in the ad to spread the message of the company. Watch the advert below:

Younghee Lee, the Executive Vice President of Global Marketing for mobile communications business at Samsung explains the campaign’s approach as a way for fans and athletes across the globe to feel a shared sense of pride and unity, which is integral to the spirit of the Olympic Games.

3. Fastest Man (Emoji) On Earth

Boltmoji - Puma

The creative marketing campaign from Puma saw the release of the app “Boltmoji” on the app stores to help give text messages an ounce of the Olympic spirit by featuring the fastest man on Earth – Usain Bolt. The app is a keyboard that is available for download on Google Play as well as the iTunes store. The keyboard is compatible with Android, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and more.

Puma has been Usain Bolt’s sponsor for years, and this was probably a fun way to acknowledge the fact and celebrate his run in this year’s Olympics.

4. Tata Salt’s “#NamakKeWaastey” Campaign

The brand has used their latest marketing campaign to gather support for Olympic squad of India by creating one minute videos covering different athletes like the one below:

The campaign supports athletes like Shiv Thapa, who was the youngest boxer India had ever seen to qualify for the games in 2012, Babita Kumari – Indian female wrestler who won the Gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Indrajeet Singh – who won a Gold at the Asian Athletics Championships in 2015, and Avatar Singh who brought home a Gold at the South Asian Games of 2016.

This is a step forward for the company in a bid to develop distinctive campaigns and work towards brand building. As a part of the innovative campaign, an “Indian Olympics Quotient Survey” was also launched by Tata Salt in a bid to access how the Indian audience engages with the Olympics and aiming to strike conversations to increase the same. Furthermore, the Indian Brand has also sponsored the marathon tiltled – ‘The Great Indian Run: Jeet Har Kadam Par’ as a symbol of sportsmanship and a means to make Indians involved in sports other than cricket.

5. EdelWeiss Group – I Am Team India

Talk about featuring your brand ambassador, without her saying a single word, in a marketing campaign for the biggest global event of the year.

The advert was developed by the EdelWeiss Group which is the principal sponsor of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics 2016. It focuses on the spirit of the athletes where rankings do not matter when they are a part of the unified Indian team. #IAmTeamIndia also launched a dedicated anthem to unify India through the Olympic spirit. Watch the anthem below:

6. ‘Garv Hai’ by Adani Group

Adani Group has addressed the problem of the apathy of Indians towards sports other than cricket through this innovative campaign. The videos give us a glimpse of the lives of the athletes, helping us realize their passion for the games and thus motivating us to know them better. By focusing on the sense of national pride, the group positions itself as a brand that cares about the nation and the people who reside in it.

The videos below feature India’s strongest man – Inderjeet Singh (Shotputter), and Shiv Thapa (Boxer) who is ranked currently at the third position in the bantamweight category. Check out both the videos:

7. Star Sports – Billion Cheers

Star Sports launched a dedicated campaign targeted specifically for India that called out the nation with a billion souls to send their wishes to the Indian contingent at the Olympics. The campaign was launched with the thought – ‘Kyuki Olympics Se Bada Kuch Nahi’ and features favorite athletes like wrestler Yogesh Dutt and archer Deepika Kumari.

The campaign also has a dedicated page on Hotstar where more than 54 million people have already sent their wishes to the Indian Team at Rio Olympics through various social media platforms.

8. Under Armour’s Ode To Phelps

The company launched its Rio campaign titled “Rule Yourself” before the inception of the games as a tribute to Michael Phelps. The campaign follows the central theme of JOMO (the joy of missing out) and focuses on the tagline – “It’s What You Do In The Dark That Puts You In The Light”. The short film goes on to feature the rigorous training regime of Phelps and highlights how top level athletes grind themselves 24/7 in their search for a moment of glory.

Despite being posted only 4 months ago, the advert has enticed about 10 million views. The first time Phelps watched the touching video, he welled up. His reaction video went on to gather half a million views itself when it was posted on the brand’s Facebook page.

9. Virat Kohli’s Inspirational Message

In a video for Royal Challenge Sports Drink, Virat Kohli has sent out an inspirational message to the Indian athletes at the Rio Olympics. The advert features Kohli trying to spread awareness about the importance of sports other than cricket. The tagline – ‘Made of Bold’ aims to highlight the fact that the athletes have made a bold choice in their bid to choose a sports field, and are pursuing it despite all odds. Watch the stirring advert below:

10. Google Doodle Fruit Games

On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, Google decided to flaunt its sporty side with the launch of the 2016 Doodle Fruit Games.

These interactive Doodles feature minion like versions of Brazil’s main fruit exports such as pineapples, bananas, watermelons, strawberries and plums participating in all kinds of sports from tennis to swimming. The free mobile game is available for Android and iOS. Players are able to partake in a new game everyday and share their scores after each play session.

Such campaigns with ingenious CTAs that trigger emotions always have the potential to go viral and help market the platforms. A good video marketing strategy also takes into account the channels they are marketed in, along with the content or message they plan to impart to the audience. With millions of eyes around the world eagerly following the events at the Olympics, well planned marketing campaigns can prove to be the difference between brands and their competitors.


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