There’s no doubt about it, London 2012 has been the most digitally connected Olympics we’ve ever seen. Compared to Beijing 2008 there are nearly 10 times the amount of people on Facebook and a whopping 80 times more tweeting away on Twitter.
Brands, consumers and even the stars of the greatest show on Earth participated with tweets, photos and videos, often in real time and always with real, honest to goodness, passion. It’s this real-time nature that made Social Media (‘SoMe’) transform the way we have experienced the Olympics and has held the key to brands making the most of their Olympic sponsorships.
So we at Synergy wanted to take a little look-see as to which brands best activated their campaigns through the use of content and digital channels. Whilst we were at it, we even decided to have a little medal ceremony all of our own.
Gold Medal Winner: adidas – Take the Stage
‘Take The Stage’ was the title of the integrated campaign launched by adidas to leverage its sponsorship of the 2012 Games.
Whilst television and out of home focused largely on the Team GB athletes themselves, the campaign also contained a public initiative which played out via digital channels. These channels provided the content hub to house varied material from emotionally-charged, nation-rousing videos of Ennis, Daley, and Idowu (hindsight’s a wonderful thing), to pieces on the athletes’ adoration of the Team GB kit and Stella (the designer, not the beer), even Keith Lemon interviewing the most successful British Olympian of all time, “Circus Hoy”, getting the Brownlees to Tri-a-Thong or Swingballdon with Andy Murray.
Even a medal-winner laden lip-sync music video to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” emerged from the content coffers. Add to that footage of a certain Mr Beckham surprising well-wishers in a ‘good luck’ video booth installation, and you have a piece of content that has generated 3 million views alone.
Digital channels also provided the platform for 32 youngsters to be given the opportunity to collaborate with a host of top sports people and pop stars by showcasing their own talent via YouTube.
SoMe was employed to get the public more deeply involved and engaged in the campaign. Aside from the dedicated website, consumers could engage with the brand by following updates on Facebook and Twitter, using @adidasUK and #takethestage. The ‘Take the Stage’ Facebook app invited users to create their own campaign image and mantra in the same style as the striking photographic portraits, share it with their friends and post the image within the dedicated gallery.
When it came to content, there really was something for everyone.
- The @adidasUK Twitter following climbed by 25% with the hashtag #takethestage being mentioned 109,241 times.
- Throughout the 17 days of the Olympics, adidas’ global Facebook page increased by 202,429 fans with more than 5 times the usual amount of shares.
- The David Beckham photo booth stunt has been viewed more than 3 million times.
- The adidas Team GB “Don’t Stop Me Now” video has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
- Adidas claims it has “already recouped” its Olympic sponsorship investment through merchandise, with further sales still to be expected.
Adidas realises that sports sponsorship and social have common ground – unified by passion. The brand generously sprinkled patriotism into the mix and fed consumers’ passions by telling great stories in an ‘always on’ environment, building familiarity, likeability and trust on the way.
‘Take the Stage’ focuses on what adidas as a brand stands for and not what it sells. The content is ‘shareworthy’; so meaningful, useful or interesting to its audience that they want to share it with their own friends, families and other connections.
Ultimately, adidas’ approach to sponsorship and digital during the 2012 Games has allowed the brand to build deeper, more meaningful and more enduring relationships with its consumers.
Silver Medal Winner: P&G – Thank You Mum
Proctor and Gamble brought to life its sponsorship of the Games most effectively through its ‘Olympic Mums’ YouTube campaign. Its aim was to recognise Mums as the special person behind every athelete.
Content for the campaign took the form of a series of video tributes called “Raising an Olympian”, stories told by the Mums themselves, which were then distributed on TV and online through sponsored content and video ads.
Facebook provided the destination to share special moments between the athletes and their Mums, and also allowed consumers to thank their own Mums by uploading family photos and writing messages for them to be shared in their news feeds. Twitter provided the platform to cheer on the athletes and allowed P&G to keep its followers informed.
- The campaign achieved over 206,397,926 impressions.
- Over 5 Million views on YouTube.
- 43 online articles were written.
- Retailers that activated the campaign with in-store displays have seen a 5% to 20% sales lift for P&G products in the three- or four-week Olympic merchandising period.
The content which P&G dispersed told emotional and compelling stories, which people naturally wanted to share.
Who could resist the pull on the heartstrings, the concept of ordinary kids becoming Olympians and the contribution their own mothers made to getting them where they are today?
Using social to roll out content a full 100 days before the Olympics shows P&G’s understanding of how using its “mum-umentaries” to engage wasn’t limited to the actual Games themselves.
Using real time distribution of narratives added to the impact, exemplified by the airing of a ‘thank you’ message from one Volleyball player to her Mum halfway through the final set of the match.
A robust paid-for seeding strategy also ensured the content reached the right audience. Oh…and finally, P&G forecasts that its Olympic campaign will generate over $500 million in additional sales.
Bronze Medal Winner : Coca-Cola Move to the Beat
Coca-Cola has been involved with the Olympics since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. In 2012 the focus moved from more traditional advertising to a more ‘Liquid and Linked’ approach to story-telling. Launching an integrated campaign, which largely played out through SoMe, Coke targeted its audience with the spotlight on music and youth culture.
Bringing in some musical ‘big guns’, Coke worked with producer Mark Ronson and singer Katy B, with Ronson setting out to produce an original Olympic anthem for 2012. To achieve this he travelled around the world to capture the sounds he needed from various sportsmen and women in action to form a ‘rhythmic backbone’, for the anthem. Imagine Ronson in the meeting with Coke selling in the idea that he needed to discover a rhythmic backbone. He captured sounds from Table Tennis in the UK, archers from Singapore, hurdlers in the US, sprinters from Russia even Taekwondo in Mexico.
Coke then told the story of Ronson’s mission through a series of videos. Users were driven to Coke’s Move to the Beat website where they could become the producer themselves and combine their favourite sport with their favourite beats to create their very own version of the anthem. If the user so desired they could further manipulate the anthem through the movement of their mobile phone via an associated app.
Coke uploaded the UGAs (User Generated Anthems) to its global community and further facilitated the sharing of these user-generated anthems through Facebook and Twitter. Users posted the videos on their Facebook profiles and propagated them via tweets.
- 3 million user-generated anthems were created.
- Coca-Cola has now hit 50 million fans on Facebook.
Coke understands the importance of creating content which resonates with its audience, and more so, it understands that co-creating this content makes it all the more powerful. People love to share what they themselves create and Coke facilitates this. Make the content unique, valuable and easy to share, and an audience will happily amplify your brand message – and do so with a smile.
In summary, whilst the Olympic Flame may now have been extinguished for another four years, the brands above have demonstrated that they have the ability to start their own fires through the power of Social Media. By creating truly outstanding content, allowing users to put their own stamp on that content, and helping them share it via social, these brands can sit back and enjoy the warm afterglow as consumers ‘fan’ the flames on their behalf.
Full disclosure: Synergy works with the Coca-Cola Company
By Lee Thomas on September 10th, 2012