4 innovative Olympic campaigns worthy of marketing gold

 The sporting event of the summer is in full swing, and with athletes from around the world competing to prove their ability, all eyes are on Brazil. The Olympics bring fans together in celebration, whether they are in the arena cheering on their favourite athletes or watching on TV at home. The excitement also attracts brands to capitalise on the success of athletes, and with the recent changes made to Rule 40, businesses are eager to leave their mark.

Official and non-official sponsors have the opportunity to use grand campaigns to their advantage, combining a mix of content, creativity and emotion to connect with their consumers in the wake of the Games. Here we introduce four of our favourite campaigns and why we think they’re so effective.

1)    Samsung’s School of Rio

Samsung have adapted a previous idea by partnering with comedian Jack Whitehall in their ‘School of Rio’ campaign that was based on their ‘School of Rugby’ campaign, also featuring Whitehall. The new version sees the comedian visiting various sports teams - such as rowing and boxing - and training with the athletes. The campaign contains five spots, extending across media, retail, digital and social and advertises Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones.

In one video spot, Whitehall is seen making fun of the rowing team and implying that it isn’t a real sport. He sits in a boat and shouts motivational words through a foghorn while the team glare at him.

The campaign works because it’s tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Samsung’s audience is a younger demographic and through Whitehall they are able to connect with customers by being irreverent.

2)    BMW Mini Defy Labels

BMW have released a spot that features eight US athletes, including Serena Williams and cancer survivor and volleyball player Jake Gibbs. The 30 second video highlights the obstacles and labels they’ve needed to overcome in order to get to where they are. This includes stereotyping in their childhood and being defined by their gender.

The goal of ‘Defy Labels’ is for BMW to reposition itself as a brand that can surpass its own labels, such as the reputation of being a ‘slow car’ or ‘short man’s car.’ The video is appealing because it inspires people to overcome adversity in their own lives by seeing real life examples.

3) Virgin Media Be The Fastest

Although they’re not an official sponsor, this hasn’t stopped Virgin Media from making the most of their long standing partnership with Usain Bolt in their ‘Be The Fastest’ campaign. As a tribute to his 9.58 seconds 100m record win in 2009, a video has been created with different aspects of Bolt’s life. Each segment lasts 9.58 seconds and demonstrates what can be accomplished in that time.

The video advertises speed and the efficiency of Virgin Media’s broadband connection. The campaign is memorable because it relies on a famous athlete to be the face of the brand.

4)    Panasonic Superfans

Panasonic has called on UK sports lovers to show support to Team GB on social media by sharing unique and wacky photos with the hashtag #superfans. All the photos are collected on the Superfans web page.

The campaign engages directly with consumers and encourages them to participate in the Rio conversation. Fans are able to feel connected to their favourite athletes through dressing up and being a part of the action.

These campaigns are strong examples of brands making an impact on their target audience. By understanding the needs of their customers they’ve been able to use the Olympics as a platform to launch their message.