Monday, July 30

2012 Olympics

My favorite visual from the season's marketing
The big news in marketing last week was of course the 2012 Olympics in London.  You couldn't miss it even if you tried, and believe me I tried!  I've been traveling like a Mad Man (!) both around the States and the Globe, and I've been out of the fray for the most part.  Sleeping from plane to plane and running from meeting to meeting.  Such a glamorous life!

So I had to rely on my students from my NYU class this Saturday (it's the summer session) to get me up to speed on Olympics marketing.  So I guess you can say in a way that I am crowd sourcing this post!

The big buzz I suppose was that the Opening Ceremony was a bit of a dud.  Too bad, because I generally find them to be so inspirational since these amateur (ideally) athletes enter the Opening Ceremony as mostly unknowns and then many of them exit the Closing Ceremony as huge "celebrities" achieving greatness beyond compare.  That's inspirational!

In terms of the advertising, nothing seemed to really stand out amongst my students, which I thought was interesting too.  They did make one very astute comment though, which bears repeating.  When comparing the Olympics advertising to the Super Bowl, they noted that Super Bowl advertising is very product centric while Olympics advertising was very emotional.  I think the problem is that it's all the same emotion ... hence nothing stood out.

The students did reference one ad in particular ... from Nike, a brand that is not even a sponsor, who took a very clever approach to "greatness" with an Olympics theme that stretches the "sponsorship" line.

"Greatness isn't reserved for a chosen few!"  Right on!  So perfectly Nike and so perfectly themed and timed for how many people feel this "season."

One sponsored campaign that did stick out at me in my travels was the out of home campaign from United Airlines, the official airline of the US team.  The line "Before they move us, we move them," is just so cleverly written and had stunning photography to boot.  Made for great visual stimulation as I moved from venue to venue myself.  Make me want to go to the hotel gym when I got in each day.

I love the Olympics season.  I love the spirit and the camaraderie and the marketing.  This year I won't be able to participate as much as in prior years, but it's still fun to be a part of it in route.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU


  1. Dear Jim,

    I wanted to share with you the new Sprite´s Ad and Tagline which Coca-Cola linked very well with the Olympics and brand experience.

    Please find below the entire article from Natalie Zmuda following by the Ad link:

    Jose Moreno
    Student NYU SCPS-Summer

    Sprite's New Tagline: 'There's Nothing Soft About It'First Work From Burnett Plays Up Intensity of Beverage To TeensBy: Natalie Zmuda Published: July 27, 2012inShare

    Coca-Cola's Sprite is fine-tuning its approach to targeting teens in the U.S. with a new campaign and tagline emphasizing the "intense" experience that comes with drinking the beverage.

    The opening line of the launch spot is, "This is way more intense than I was expecting!" and the campaign carries the tagline, "There's nothing soft about it." It is the first work from Leo Burnett, which won the business in April.

    The campaign highlights the experience of drinking a Sprite -- described as "a unique, sudden hit of intensity" -- something execs admit had been missing from previous advertising. The first ad debuts Saturday on the Olympics.
    "We've never linked [the product experience] as overtly as we have now," said Kevin Keith, group director-integrated marketing content at Coca-Cola. "Most brands go to a lifestyle brand without connection to the product experience. We're trying to link to the product experience more sharply."

    The brand's previous campaign, "Uncontainable Game" launched in February and is ongoing, culminating during NBA All-Star Weekend 2013 with the pitting of "Team Sudden" against "Team Intense." "Uncontainable Game" is the brand's largest global effort to date.

    Sprite execs say the new campaign and tagline are meant to be broader than just basketball, allowing Sprite to hit on other teen "passion points," such as music, skateboarding and film. In the second half of the year, the brand will be promoting a contest for film students.

    "We're trying to link all of these different passion points in a way that has consistency in it," said Mr. Keith. "Sprite has a very specific teen target, so we're looking for a crisp articulation."

    "In the last two years, we've been fine-tuning against the same strategy," added Rafael Acevedo, Sprite brand director. "This campaign is based on the same fundamental truth we have for Sprite -- unique, intense excitement.

    Sprite has also worked with Turner Duckworth on new executions of its existing design elements for an outdoor campaign. Billboards in markets like Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York feature oversized Sprite logos as the background to a guy slam-dunking and a soaring skateboarder. The logo on packaging will not change. "We wanted to push the way we look, with elements of the logo," Mr. Acevedo said.Sprite's performance has been uneven in the U.S. in recent years. In 2010 volume was up 2%, while in 2011 volume was flat at 0.1%, according to Beverage Digest. In the first quarter of 2012, volume was down 2.1% in the U.S. According to parent company Coca-Cola, Sprite volume is up 5% globally year-to-date.

    Spending on the brand has declined markedly from the mid-2000s when it laid out nearly $30 million on annual measured media, according to Ad Age's Leading National Advertisers report.

    Sprite spent just $9 million on measured media in the U.S. last year. According to Kantar Media, the brand spent $2 million in the first quarter of 2012. Execs declined to comment on projected marketing outlays for 2012.Sprite has tapped several new agencies in recent months. In addition to Leo Burnett, Johannes Leonardo was brought on to handle global duties in May. Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty previously handled the business. BBH's Shanghai office continues to work on the brand.

  2. The interesting thing about Nike's campaign, outside of the fact that the brand is not an Olympic sponsor is the effectiveness of the campaign. Ad Age Digital reported on July 31, 2012 that Nike was #1 on the Viral Chart (4.5 million views with 1.7 million paid) compared to Adidas (an Olympic sponsor) who was #3 with 2.9 million views during the week of the games.

    Adidas has been running its campaign since April, which brings total views to 5.7 million (1.6 million paid), but even with 3 months lead, Nike still seemed to snatch a significant number of views in a week. I think that is pretty amazing.

    I wonder if they would have the same or more significant gains if their campaign began in April. In some ways I believe the success of their campaign is all in the timing (and the fact that it was an awesome spot to boot). Launching the week of the games and not 2 months prior is pretty smart and keeps them top of mind along with the momentum of the games.

    I'm inclined to believe that its a strategy of theirs because they did the same for the World Cup two years ago with their "Write the Future" campaign, according to Ad Age. I guess whatever works, stick with it.

    Nikke Gant

  3. While I'm on a roll with the Olympics, I absolutely love brands that sponsor the games in creative and innovative ways.

    Gillette did an awesome Hologram display featuring Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay over the Boston Harbor and some buildings as part of the Gillette's "Get Started" global campaign. This should have been the opening ceremony to the Olympic Games in London!!