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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#Hashtags: Big Business or Bust?

Hashtags

Hashtags — love them or hate them? Are they good or bad for business? Photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan via Creative Commons License

Let’s take a closer look at the world of hashtags…

On the positive side, hashtags open up your social media updates to a whole new world: non-subscribers, non-fans and non-followers. Searching hashtags brings potential fans, followers, subscribers — and customers — to your doorstep. Whenever I use hashtags, I always receive more traffic from those outside of my network. I’ve also come across brands — both personal and corporate — on Instagram and Twitter that I probably never would have found otherwise.

Hashtags are also a wonderful way to have a conversation online. Stay up to date with webinars, events, ad campaigns, sporting events, etc. by searching for the hashtag and participating in the conversation. As a marketer (or event professional), designating hashtags for your campaigns and events is a great way to invite attendees to join the conversation, build momentum pre- and post-event, involve those unable to attend and integrate your online and offline marketing efforts.

#Olympics hashtag search

The #Olympics hashtag: insight and insanity

For example, Twitter noted that the #SuperBowl hashtag was used 3 million times over an approximate 5-hour time period. As a marketing professional, you’re probably excited to jump in! But slow down — and do the math. That breaks down to an average of 167 tweets per second. And remember, anyone can use a hashtag — not only brands, companies or excited fans talking positively about your product or service. Someone complaining about a sideline reporter’s outfit or a celebrity that’s spotted in the crowd will show up in that hashtag search as well. As Oreo showed us, hashtags don’t make the tweet.

Power outage? No problem says Oreo.

Oreo stole the show on Super Bowl Sunday. No hashtag needed.

Another negative aspect is what I like to call ‘overhashtagging.’ I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but it is in my dictionary. #Have #you #ever #read #a #tweet #like #this? #Probably #not #because #its #so #annoying. I’ve spoken to Twitter users regarding hashtag use and come across research that noted readership (and engagement) drops after 2 – 3 hashtags. Of course, it’s not just on Twitter; we’ve all seen photos maxing out the 30 hashtag limit on Instagram. As my mom always says, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. #justsaying

In summary, hashtags have good and bad qualities like most things in life. They can be used correctly or abused as some of the pros and cons below show.

Pros

  • gain new followers, fans, subscribers and possibly customers
  • have a conversation online
  • bring event attendees into the conversation, including pre- and post-event
  • integrate online and offline marketing efforts
  • help a campaign go viral

Cons

  • new followers may be temporary or fake
  • aesthetically unpleasing
  • overuse is distracting / hard to read
  • overuse lowers readership / engagement
  • get lost in the sea of popular hashtags

I came across an insightful comment by Daniel Victor, social media staff editor at The New York Times, which sums up my opinion of hashtags well.

“Here’s where I’ll join the rest in unquantifiable hoodoo: I believe hashtags are aesthetically damaging. I believe a tweet free of hashtags is more pleasing to the eye, more easily consumed, and thus more likely to be retweeted (which is a proven way of growing your audience). I believe for every person who stumbles upon your tweet via hashtag, you’re likely turning off many more who are put off by hashtag overuse. We need not banish the hashtag, but let’s start putting more thought into when we’re using it.”

Your Thoughts

What do you think? Are you a hashtag user or recovering abuser? Refuse to use them?

Have hashtags been beneficial to your business? Or hurt your online brand?

Please chime in with your thoughts on the wonderful, wacky world of hashtags! Feel free to link to articles, blog posts, studies, etc. (including your own) on the subject in the comments as well.

Additional Reading

#EnjoytheWeekend!

Jaime

p.s. Sunday, June 30th, is Social Media Day 2013! Join CCC as we celebrate (virtually) the power of social media in our lives. View the event invite for details and social media resources.

Join the conversation: 
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The Olympics: A Viewing Party

As noted in my previous post, I love watching the Olympics. It’s amazing to see so many amazing athletes from around the world gather in one place to compete. I was invited to participate in NBC’s 2012 Olympics Diary, which helps the network gauge the effectiveness of its coverage via all platforms.

NBC's 2012 Olympics logo

Photo Credit: NBC Olympics

As a participant in this study, I’ve tried to sample the various coverage options available — NBC, NBC Sports & partner channels, nbcolympics.com, the NBC Olympics app, the Live Extra App and, of course, social media. Being billed as the first “social media Olympic Games,” the coverage — especially from athletes themselves — have opened access to fans beyond what was previously possible.

screen shot of #Olympics tweets

#Olympics Twitter Page

I’ve enjoyed some of the non-traditional platforms, such as the Live Extra app (available for iPhone and Android), which allows you to watch live streaming action of your favorite sports and athletes, as well as view recorded action. Select your favorites, so you can easily locate the game or match you’re looking for later.

Michael Phelps

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Also, it’s been interesting hearing so much directly from the athletes themselves and from fellow fans discussing the festivities. During the course of the Games, Michael Phelps gained his one millionth Twitter follower, an incredible feat for a swimmer. Of course, he’s also the most decorated Olympian of all time. But I think it speaks to how social media can be an avenue for athletes of all types to bypass traditional media coverage and develop a rapport with fans.

How have you watched the Olympics? Do you prefer to wait until prime time on TV or have you been following via live streaming online or social media? Maybe a combination of multiple platforms like I have?

I’m happy to be participating in NBC’s Olympic Diary, and I hope our feedback will continue to help improve coverage for future Olympics. Are you participating in this study? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what constructive feedback would you have for NBC?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy competition between the greatest athletes in the world.

Jaime

The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)

Olympic-themed Coca-Cola bottles

Photo Credit: The Dieline

Are you excited about the upcoming Olympics in London? I am! I love watching athletes from around the globe compete against each other, especially the summer version. It’s a patriotic time for so many nations, and it’s wonderful to see the world come together on such a grand stage.

Beyond the stadiums, another competition is playing out — who can profit from the Olympic brand.

Like any brand, the Olympics want to keep strict control over how their brand is used. To aid their cause, they partner with a small group of official sponsors, who pay for the right to use the Olympic branding and have to follow detailed rules on how they use it.

Sounds simple, right? Of course, there are many businesses who fall outside of this small group who would like to profit from the Games as well. Everyone from small street vendors outside London’s venues to online companies want to get in on the act.

As London awaits the world’s spotlight. ‘brand police’ are quietly patrolling the streets ensuring that companies who are not official sponsors are not profiting from an association with the Games. Is that fair? Or should local businesses, often the lifeblood of an area, be able to profit from the Olympics as well?


I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Jaime