Top 10 Standout Marketing Campaigns Related to the 2012 Olympics

Two posts ago, I had blogged about Visa’s Go World social media campaign to support Team Visa athletes. Though the Olympics have come to an end, it has not failed to spawn a multitude of marketing campaigns. I want to take this time to share some standout examples:

1. Take the Stage by Adidas
It should come as no surprise that Adidas, being an official partner of the London games, has a ranking on this list. The sportswear giant has a dedicated section of its website that pays a vibrant and colourful tribute to the event. That, however, is not the main reason why this campaign tops my list. This is the icing on the cake:

There is something about athletes having fun and being silly that allows people to see past the competitive nature of the event and view the athletes as real people.

2. Thank You Mom by Procter and Gamble
Instead of spotlighting sports and athletes, Procter and Gamble wants to recognize the efforts of the people who has helped the athletes get to where they are now. This video reminds everyone that behind every Olympic participant is a supportive and proud mom. The campaign slogan is “To us, they’re Olympians. But to their moms, they’ll always be kids.”


3. Win Small by Mini
The automaker presents a new take on the notion of “dream big” by promoting the fact that being small does not prevent you from achieving your goals.

Feel-good campaigns play on people’s emotions and tell really good stories.

4.  Find Your Greatness by Nike
While other companies were showing off splashy campaigns, Nike decided to release videos of everyday people participating in Olympic sports. The focus is on the message that everyone is capable of achieving greatness.

One understated yet inspirational video features an out-of-shape boy who takes up jogging. The ad, however, has received mixed reviews. Some applaud the ad for recognizing the greatness in the lives of regular citizens; others, however, view the ad as an act of mockery, a PR campaign at the expense of the boy. What is your take on this?

In related news, Team Egypt was busted for wearing counterfeit Nike gear. It was revealed that the country’s dire economic situation had led to the team’s decision to minimize expenditures and source its sportswear from a Chinese company. Technically speaking, Nike could have taken Egypt’s Olympic Committee to court and be awarded damages. Instead, Nike turned this into free PR by offering the team genuine Nike gear.

5. Move to the Beat of London 2012 by Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is an official Olympic sponsor and did this marketing campaign to promote its company. The soft drink giant went all out and released a campaign anthem titled Anywhere in the World.

As many of you may know and remember, Coca-Cola is no stranger to the method of using catchy songs to embed a brand into people’s minds.

6. We’re All Making the Games by McDonald’s
McDonald’s is another official London 2012 sponsor. Its ad emphasizes the “bringing people together” aspect of the Olympics by featuring clips in its video of people watching the games. This is yet another ad that highlights the lives of ordinary citizens and their personal Olympic moments.


7.  Samsung
Samsung does not have a specific name for its campaign. Rather, it has subcomponents such as its Take Part competition, Hope Relay, and Big Cheer. Take Part offers Olympic fans the opportunity to win a Samsung tablet through participation in a Samsung Facebook app called Everyone’s Olympic Game. The Hope Relay asks the public to download a mobile app and track the distance that they walk/run/bike, which Samsung will then translate into a GBP 1.00 charitable donation per mile submitted. The Big Cheer is an activity where Samsung will take snapshots of crowds of Olympic fans and encourage people to locate and tag themselves in the photo.

Although these marketing activities may sound old and familiar, I think that Samsung has given them a new spin. I especially like the Hope Relay because it serves to encourage people to (literally!) be  an “active” participant in the London Games.

8. You’re the Reason We Fly by Qantas
Qantas decided to focus its campaign on the fact that it transports athletes to the Olympics.

The videos are very nicely done but I feel that the message is a bit too overt. Yes, we know Qantas is an airline and, yes, we know that it takes people all around the world. In this case, though, subtlety would have made the campaign much more appealing and effective.

9. Sharing the Passion by Panasonic
Panasonic attempts to differentiate itself from the rest of the Olympic marketing blitz by appealing to fans of hi-tech and digital products. The company created a video that showcases the roles played by Panasonic products throughout the entire event. Though the clip has the potential to be interpreted as digital product catalogue, the information being presented opens your eyes to the wonders of technology and how they help make large scale events a success.

Compared to its fellow Olympic sponsors, however, Panasonic’s campaign feels rather dull and uninspired. These are definitely two adjectives that the company would not want to have associated with its digital display products.

What would you pick for the # 10 spot? Please share your ideas via the comment box below.

Update August 24, 2012:  This article from BBC provides a great recap of the “winners” and “losers” of the Olympic marketing blitz. It goes to show that enormous, flashy, and expensive marketing campaigns can go horribly wrong in a horribly big way, especially if the brand did not prepare itself for crisis management.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Top 10 Standout Marketing Campaigns Related to the 2012 Olympics

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Copywriting Tips for Beginners - The original title of the post

  2. Thanks for putting this list together. You know you’ve got a great ad campaign when people willingly watch your advertisements.

    I have to say that I find the “Thank You Mom” campaigns so touching and nearly cry every time. As a mom myself I can feel their pain, struggle and joy as they help their kids in their journey to the Olympics.

    I wrote some beginning copywriting tips and shared your post as an example of using the power of storytelling in your advertisements.
    http://kellyneufeld.com/blog/top-10-copywriting-tips-for-beginners

  3. Hi Kelly, I share your sentiments. I normally channel surf whenever I see ads come on but I will stop at a channel if something interesting catches my eye. Nowadays, because consumers have so many options to choose from, why would they choose to subject themselves to advertisements that contain only one single message: “This is our product — Please buy it”?

    The Thank You Mom campaign is definitely a tearjerker. I also really like the Win Small ads by Mini because of the warm, fuzzy feeling that it gives the audience.

    And thanks for the linkback!

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