2016 Olympic Marketing Game Winners

So many athletes won big at this year’s Olympics, delivering their best performances on the world’s biggest stage. Who won the 2016 Olympic Marketing Games?

Gold

Under Armour, Rule Yourself 

This popular brand has done the best job of taking advantage of changes to Rule 40. It submitted a marketing plan in accordance with the (slightly) relaxed restrictions and advertised its sponsorship of Michael Phelps and other athletes without ever using Olympic intellectual property (IP), which isn’t allowed by non-sponsors. This video alone is nearing 11,000,000 views, has been shared over 68,000 times and has an average watch duration of 1:21 (for a 1:31 video). The best part? Under Armour’s Olympic marketing efforts are part of a larger overall campaign, so the brand receives an A+ for cohesiveness.

Olympic Marketing: A Balancing Act for Brands

Silver

Visa, The Swim

While The Carpool to Rio was an impressive spot, Visa grabbed our attention with its nod to refugee Yusra Mardini’s incredible journey to becoming an Olympian. As an official sponsor, the company has a heavy presence leading up to and during the Games, and this year was no different. This video alone racked up nearly 5,000,000 views, 715 shares and an average view duration of 29 seconds for a 30-second spot.

Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

Bronze

Mini USA, Defy Labels

This spot initially caught our eye on TV, and we love the message behind it. We’ve all been labeled in our lives, oftentimes unfairly or based on stereotypes. It also fits in with the company’s product line, which defies expectations based on its size. Mini USA is an official Olympic sponsor, so the company can use Olympic IP throughout its campaign. The TV spot had a 98.12% average view rate (top 5 overall), and this video (one of a series) has captured nearly 18,500 views and 847 shares.

Now that we’ve handed out our medals, let us know your Olympic Marketing Champions. Which ads or overall campaigns caught your attention?

An Olympics (& marketing) fan,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Olympics, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Olympic Marketing: A Balancing Act for Brands

The Olympics are an opportunity of a lifetime, not only for athletes but for marketers too. Unfortunately, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare for brands who aren’t official Olympic sponsors.

How Startups and Small Businesses Can Achieve Olympic Glory

In 2012, we talked about the limitations of companies who weren’t official sponsors (rumored to cost upward of $25 million) to benefit from the Olympics in any capacity.

“Athletes were barred from tweeting about non-official sponsors, and non-sponsors were not allowed to feature Olympic athletes that they had sponsorship deals with in ads.”  –Adweek

Heading into the 2016 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made changes to Rule 40, which the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) adopted. These revisions allow non-official sponsors to endorse Olympic athletes and run ad campaigns featuring them while also allowing athletes to tweet about non-official sponsors.

There are rules to these more relaxed revisions, of course. Brands and athletes had to submit waivers to the USOC by January 27, 2016, to have their marketing and social media campaigns approved, and ads had to begin running before March 27, 2016. Also, non-sponsor brands and athletes promoting them are not allowed to use Olympic intellectual property (IP), which includes the Olympic rings and terms such as Olympics, Rio 2016 and gold.

How the Olympics’ New Advertising Rules Will Impact Athletes and Brands in Rio

How can your small business or startup achieve Olympic glory?

  • Throw an Olympic watch party that ties in your products or services. Invite clients, customers, prospects and employees to join in the fun (and share their good times on social).
  • Reference the Olympic spirit or other aspects of the games in your social media content without using Olympic IP, which includes official hashtags. (Under Armour has done a great job in this area!)
  • Announce a customer loyalty program to capitalize on the excitement of the games and create momentum for a strong second half.
  • Hold internal competitions for employees, physical and/or job-related, complete with decorations, cool prizes and food. Competitors have to eat, right? 🙂

Olympic Feedback

What are your thoughts on Rule 40: too strict, too relaxed or just right?

Should brands who are not official sponsors be able to use Olympic IP, including hashtags?

Will these restrictions impact future Olympic sponsorship deals?

What other ways can small businesses and startups get in on the Olympic spirit?

An Olympics fan,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Olympics, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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