Now that the 2016 Olympic games in Rio have come to a close, we know which brands had success with their marketing campaigns. As the chart below shows, Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Visa took the gold, silver and bronze for most brand mentions on social media, while total Olympic sponsor mentions throughout the duration of the 2016 Rio Olympic games reached almost 217,000. Clearly, each of this year’s 11 worldwide Olympic partners have been effective in creating buzz-worthy marketing campaigns, but how did they do it? Let’s take a look at some noteworthy marketing observations from Rio 2016.

Rio 2016 Olympic Marketing Observations

Source: AdWeek

1. An experiential marketing strategy creates buzz:

As an iconic brand which has been an Olympic partner for 88 years, Coca-Cola, understands how to capture every aspect of the games. Their worldwide #ThatsGold marketing campaign encouraged consumers around the globe to enjoy (and share) everyday, simple moments that create that “gold feeling”. However, the campaign wasn’t just limited to TV advertisements and social media hash tags. Coke set up mini stages in 84 villages throughout Brazil designed to bring people together while celebrating the Olympic games. With a superb experiential marketing strategy, it’s no surprise that Coca-Cola attained 344,000 social media mentions during the games this year, the most of any brand sponsor.


2. Engage your target audience’s emotions: 

Proctor & Gamble has been airing its “Thank you, Mom” commercials since the 2012 games. This year, P&G’s campaign featured stories from the mothers of US Olympians Simone Biles, Ashton Eaton, Alex Morgan, Allyson Felix, and Lex Gillette. These personal accounts of the role that the athletes’ mothers played in their children’s success included an emotional commercial with the tagline “It takes someone strong to make someone strong” which on its own has reached nearly 21 million views just on YouTube. The secret to the video’s success? It hones in on the ideal relationship its target audience would like to have with their children.

Samsung also brought the waterworks this year with its #DoWhatYouCant campaign, which focused on Olympic athletes who have defied barriers in their lives. The commercial “The Chant” features Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan, the first South Sudanese Olympian, beside an outpouring of overwhelming emotion and support from her country. Samsung also created a short film about other Olympic athletes who have defied barriers and become part of the 1% of athletes who qualify for the Olympics games out of the millions who train. The campaign speaks to a new generation of Samsung’s audience who are all finding their voice in the world.


3. Fun never fails:

Visa, with 28,500 mentions the third most-mentioned brand at the 2016 Rio Olympics, created a series of commercials that conveyed a cheerful and upbeat energy. Visa’s “Carpool to Rio” commercial features Olympic athletes carpooling as the audience rides along on the competitors’ journey to Rio. The athletes laugh and have fun with one another on their trip, showing a glimpse of their personality and the excitement made possible by Visa’s products. If there’s anything we can learn from Visa’s carpool campaign, it’s that fun never fails to engage an audience who may take a product or service’s benefits for granted.


Inspired by Rio to examine your marketing strategy? Why not contact Young Marketing Consulting to discuss how your brand can capture some magic of your own.