The Olympic Games offer brands an unparalleled touch point through which to connect with consumers
worldwide. After all, it’s one of the rare athletic spectacles whose massive audience is comprised of more than just rabid sports fans. We were curious about what discerning Gen Ys thought of this year’s Olympics-related marketing efforts, so we asked the members of Cassandra Speaks
, our private online research community, to identify and dissect their favorites. Here’s what we discovered.
Procter & Gamble:
Most Cassandra Speaks members are not yet parents themselves, yet their admiration for P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign
illuminated their "peer-ental" bonds with their mothers. An unexpected crowd favorite among the Millennial set, the gorgeously shot spot, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel
), was praised as much for its emotionally provocative storytelling
as for its cinematography. The commercial chronicles the critical role that mothers play in raising future Olympic athletes and, in so doing, provides back stories of sacrifice and triumph that viewers found captivating. One panelist reflected, “I know my coworker, the one who uses YouTube to purposely make himself cry, will be watching this more than a few times.”
AT&T may have garnered the most media chatter
when it came to innovative Olympics marketing, but they weren’t the only brand to tap into the consumer craze for real-time messaging. Visa, a pioneer of the trend, also produced ultra au courant congratulatory spots
, which our panelists called out in greater numbers than they did AT&T. The clincher? Narration by Morgan Freeman, whose soothing baritone was immediately recognizable. It wasn’t just the voice of “the most trustworthy celebrity”
that spoke to viewers, however. Visa’s spots celebrating past gold medalists
highlighted its 25-year sponsorship of the Olympics, thereby playing into young people’s persistent fascination with brand heritage.
Nike has long been a purveyor of motivational aphorisms (“Just Do It”, “Make It Count”) and the theme of its latest campaign is no exception. While not an explicitly Olympics-affiliated marketing effort, its “Find Your Greatness”
web video series hit a home run with viewers. The videos depict ordinary people’s stories of personal athletic accomplishment, and were slyly tied to the summer games through their “other London” settings, which range from Qatar (London School) to Arizona (Lake Havasu’s London Bridge). Respondents lauded Nike’s cunning in skirting the London Organising Committee's compliance codes
—a guerrilla element that likely contributed to the videos’ high shareability quotient.