July 31, 2012

Our leader board – the top Olympic marketing campaigns

We’re as addicted to the creative ways in which the official Olympic sponsors are maximising their high-profile position as we are to the sports underway.

Here, we round up our favourites and rank them Gold, Silver and Bronze, plus dish out a special recognition award and an unofficial nod to an unofficial sponsor…

Gold goes to… Procter & Gamble’s ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign

P&G’s biggest campaign in its 174-year history is a real feel-good tearjerker in celebration of the mums behind the athletes. The campaign maximises online, social media, TV and print, and at its heart is a short film that celebrates the role mothers play in raising Olympians. The film alone has been viewed more than five-and-a-half-million times since its release in April, helping the brand well on its way in its ambition to thank every mum in the world through its Olympic and Paralympic Games campaign.

As far as results go there were more than 120 references to parents and family in the first three days of the games, and more interviews, sweeping stand shots and lingering close-ups of the cheering and weeping mums and dads than you could shake a stick at.

Below you can see the aforementioned ‘Best Job’ short film, which was shot on four continents and features local actors and athletes in each location.

And you can see here how P&G engaged consumers by allowing them to create personalised ‘Thank you, Mom’ messages through a digital app via Facebook.

We say: This is a brilliant campaign to support all P&G’s iconic brands, including Pampers, Bounty and Tide to name but a few. A cosy, comfy ‘Home away from Home’ zone set up at the Olympic Village, plus contributions to travel costs for USA Olympiad families, are the final shining beacons in this impressive feel-good campaign.

The Silver winner is… Adidas’ £2m deal with Metro

As you’ve probably guessed, we love a good bit of print! And so, with Adidas claiming this to be its biggest ever print campaign, it’s no surprise it nabbed our second spot.

This campaign is the first time a consecutive cover wrap of this scale has ever been done, and it’s really, really creative: 17 illustrated cover wraps featuring Britain’s medal hopefuls throughout the duration of the Games and during which the London Metro becomes a seven-day-a-week paper.

We say: This is such a wonderfully British campaign – a big investment in print advertising with a London paper supporting British Olympians. The UK marketing director at Adidas, Nick Craggs, sums it up best: “Being the sponsor of Team GB and on home soil, that’s something really special and we wanted something truly standout to mark this”. And stand out it does.

Claiming Bronze is… McDonalds’ QR codes

It’s still a little out of our realm of comprehension why the mecca of fast food should be a three-decade sponsor of the Olympics, but there you go. The fact that it has put those lovely little QR codes on all packaging sold at the Olympic Park venue has perked us up somewhat.

Allowing customers access to nutritional and sourcing information about its products via a smartphone is the start of an initiative that will be rolled out across the UK and worldwide by 2013.

We say: By doing this McDonalds is cementing the success for the QR code and that can be nothing but a good thing for our marketers’ handbook.

Special recognition award… Adidas builds Olympics into custom shoes

It’s an ambitious plan, which celebrates the Games by incorporating physical objects from the Olympic Park into 41 pairs of customised shoes.

Each day Olympic fans nominate their favourite moment from the day’s events via Facebook, with artists such as the shoe customiser Nash Money, accessories designer Fred Butler and street artist Dr Noki then incorporating items like shuttlecocks, sand from the jumping pit and basketballs into their designs to represent the highlights.

We say: It’s social, it’s real-time, it’s creative, it supports emerging British artists and it involves shoes. (The fact that this writer, and all the other girls in the office, love shoes has nothing to do with this making the cut… no nothing at all.)

The unofficial nod to an unofficial sponsor award goes to… Dr Dre

After all the rules and regulations, guidelines and policies, plus threats of punishment to all unofficial sponsors trying to cash-in on the Olympic pound, it seems you just can’t stop the athletes themselves choosing their own stuff.

Take, for example, Tom Daley, who just before his event – and just as most of the UK population at least tuned into see it – popped on his Beats by Dr Dre headphones to eliminate the deafening roars of the crowds. The fact that Beats by Dr Dre is an unofficial ‘sponsor’ that sneakily delivered sets of headphones sporting the Union Flag in an ambush marketing stunt didn’t bother him.

Nor did it bother the footballer Jack Butland who took to Twitter to thank the brand, saying: “Loving my new BG Beats by Dre”. He went on to assure other Team GB members not to worry as he was “sure they’ll bump into you guys soon”, referring to the fact that the Beats team had visited the team’s hotel to deliver the headphones.

We say: Outsmarting the Olympic chiefs? Freedom of speech, it’ll get you every time.