How Brands Upped Their Marketing With The Olympics
Sporting events are traditionally a pot of gold for most brands. These events get some of the best viewership numbers, including the in-person, at-home, and digital audiences.
So it makes sense for brands to invest money, time, and resources to capture an audience that’s already hooked on everything related to these events
While this is true for all major football, basketball, and cricketing tournaments, there is one event that absolutely takes the cake. Yes, you got it right – it’s the Olympics. Brands bid millions to get an opportunity to associate with this giant amongst all major sports.
From active sponsorship, athlete associations, and minor sponsorships, there is a lot of money at play here. As an event popular in five continents, it also stands to generate a ton of revenue for brands.
The 2020 pandemic did briefly deter brands looking to make money with their Olympics deals. But as we came to see, the tide turned and the Tokyo government confirmed the plans for the summer Olympics to go on as usual in 2021.
Now that they had another opportunity, many brands and campaign designers outdid themselves with some of the greatest marketing campaigns. These creatives show us that even when the industry forecast is not great, you can still pull ahead with design and ideation.
Let us take a look at the connection between the Olympics and marketing before we see how brands upped their marketing game this summer.
Tokyo 2020 and a big marketing stage
We discussed how Olympic events, in general, provide a great marketing opportunity for all major brands worldwide. That is why most brands invest in long-term partnerships and start planning their campaigns years in advance.
When the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic hit, all these planned campaigns went back to the drawing board. All major brands understood that their marketing and advertising efforts had to resonate with people who suffered losses during this pandemic.
So, this time, instead of a generic Olympics-themed campaign, brands had to actually find something that tied in with the current situation without changing the brand personality they built over the years.
Non-sponsors and smaller brands did this as well. As they were looking to associate in some small way with the event, and had to swing for the fences to get noticed in the crowd.
It was a tough task, but many accomplished it in terms of content, tone, and brand promotions, too.
Another challenge was the newfound emphasis on digital campaigns. With no spectators and a diminishing TV audience, brands knew that these creatives will get their day in the sun on the internet more than anywhere else.
On that note of the changing marketing landscape during the Summer Olympics, it is time to divulge what makes for an outstanding campaign even amid a pandemic. Understanding these elements will make you appreciate the true essence of what made the best campaigns what they are.
How Brands brought their A-game to Tokyo 2020 Olympics Marketing
While each campaign is diverse and unique in its own special way, there is a common thread to all the branded campaigns this year for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Along with the emphasis on Olympics events, some prominent features of these campaigns were:
Olympic campaigns center on the events, the athletes, and the sports for the main part. But that does not mean that the brands take a backseat. On the contrary, it means that you promote your brand while also showcasing the event in the right light. For example, this Nike graphic is about the athletes and the non-athletes enjoying sports in their own way. But, in every frame, you can spot the Nike logo standing tall with them. And that’s powerful visual marketing.
Every brand and marketer had to rethink how they sold their products to customers in the background of a pandemic. Consumers weren’t as receptive to messages that were overtly salesy. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics too launched to many similar objections. Sensing the mood of the communities they cater to, brands quickly pivoted to messages that worked with the Olympics’ #strongertogether campaigns.
Yes, they sold the products and built brand recognition, but with the motive to build communities, not customer bases.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics took place in a very sobering background, and brands were mindful of that in their campaigns.
Tokyo 2020’s marketing campaign is a playbook in itself. The event organizing committee (the IOC) established an omnichannel presence (TV, out of home, digital, and print) so strong that it became impossible to avoid any Olympics update.
Accordingly, brands like Nike, Adidas, and Airbnb too had a ferocious presence across all channels to leverage all these platforms to their fullest.
Now that we know the standout features of the most effective Olympics-related marketing campaigns, it is time for the main act.
With no further delay, let’s dive right into the top marketing campaigns by brands in Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Top Brands who clinched gold with their Marketing in Tokyo Olympics 2020
Nike is a legendary brand in the sports world. There is not a sport that Nike hasn’t represented. So, it goes to show Nike ran some brilliant campaigns in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics too. An official sponsor of the USA Olympics team, Nike had a series of TV, out-of-home, and digital ads before and during the tournament, too.
While the creatives differed, Nike ads projected the sense of sportsmanship, unwavering support for the athletes, and the common thread between athletic enthusiasts and Olympic athletes.
The ads’ visuals, tone, and design kept the brand’s personality of ruggedness and activeness at its core and worked brilliantly with the masses. Nike also launched the uniforms for the USA athletes as part of the campaign and ongoing sponsorship with the US Olympic team.
Some notable campaigns in this series include the Dynasty ad to support the US basketball team, The toughest athletes in honor of mothers, and the New Healing campaign for mental health awareness.
Kimp Tip: Creating on-topic relevant content is a tricky game. While events like the Olympics allow you to prepare for them well in advance, you still need to stay on your toes a lot. Finding a design team with faster turnaround times and an understanding of your brand identity can help you dish out relevant branded campaigns faster.
This watch mega-brand has a longstanding association with the Olympics. As a sponsor, Omega launched a stellar campaign that celebrates the precision in Olympic sporting events while also emphasizing its product.
The split-screen mode is an effective design that connects the watch brand and the Olympics closely. It also subtly promotes the brand’s efficiency to impress the viewers.
Omega’s Olympics marketing campaign is an outstanding example of how co-branding works. Right from the first screen to the exit card, both the visual identities of both Omega and Olympics co-exist without one dominating the other.
The transitions, clever editing, and innovative design of the entire video make it a treat to watch. And we cannot ignore the subtle nod to Japan’s culture. It hits all the right spots perfectly!
Audiences loved this ad showing how effective good video design can be.
The brand also launched some signature timepieces that relate to the sporting events and the timeless culture of Japan.
Kimp Tip: Advertisement design can be easy to crack even without expensive production. All you need is a design team that understands your branding identity and the message you intend to convey.
Remember how we spoke about conveying a message without losing your unique brand identity in the process? Well, Oreo seems to have nailed it. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the world has been going through a tough time. There have been more calamities than anyone could ever imagine.
Oreo is a fun, playful, and happy brand that makes up a lot of happy memories for people worldwide. So, obviously, Oreo had to come in with its trademark cheerful advert for Olympics 2020.
The advertisement shows how people on opposing teams share a common love for the cookie, and all will end well if the players just came together to split one, now and then.
Since the brand is a sponsor for the USA Olympics team, the brand features the red and blue colors across the whole ad. The unmistakable Oreo package across all the shots also reinforces the brand identity in this video.
Like most brands, Oreo also launched a limited-edition cookie honoring the US Olympic team, all with a custom package design to go with it.
Kimp Tip: Sometimes, you have to think beyond integrating your marketing on digital and TV campaigns. Especially, if you are a product firm, think out of the box with retail signs, package designs, and storefront designs, too.
If oreo represented integrating brand personality in the advertisement, DFS brought out a fantastic product integration that everyone can learn from. The biggest name in furniture and sofas in the Great Britain region, DFS launched a campaign that resonates with the experience of the pandemic.
As official partners for the Great Britain Olympic team, the brand knew this campaign was important. The advertisement features popular athletes and one big star from the brand – their sofa. You can see how this piece of furniture played an important role in our life during the lockdown days clearly from the advert.
The ad design is engaging, inspirational, and celebrates the true British spirit by inviting people to cheer for the athletes from the comfort of their homes and DFS sofas.
Most people will call it a typical ad, but the brand really ticked the boxes on design, message, and tone.
Influencer marketing is winning big time today. For a brand so closely related to fitness and health, this is an obvious strategy. But, instead of just getting one major sports person to endorse, the company went and beyond to launch an entire champions collection.
The collection features nine athletes, including Usain Bolt, who come together to showcase their journey on the road to Tokyo. The company also announced an activewear collection with Adidas during the Olympic event launch.
This advertising campaign went live on digital platforms, TV, and other mediums, making it quite well-distributed.
The video in itself puts the focus on the athletes and the community while only subtly bringing the Peloton brand. It is easy to understand that while it is an advertisement about the brand; the influencers are more key to its success than a major brand design presence.
Kimp Tip: Branding does not mean an overfed presence across all potential materials. Sometimes, it means integrating your products into a campaign that shines a light on your values and other offerings more. In a sensitive world like ours today, this is very important for success.
Go for Gold with your marketing campaigns with Kimp
Designing an advertisement that can potentially reach millions is very intimidating. You could be an overnight success or have a colossal mistake in your hand. But, if the Olympic marketing campaigns have taught us anything, it is that if we stay true to our brands, we can create truly powerful messages.
Marketing campaigns of this magnitude need unlimited revisions, test designs, and a complete package of marketing collateral for effective distribution. If you are a small business, you need all this without an Olympic-size budget.
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