Rio 2016 – Which brand is our Champion?

Published August 12, 2016
Last Updated July 23, 2018
Tom Whitehouse

Content and PR Account Manager

With Rio 2016 underway, most of the world currently have sports fever.

As you’d expect, marketers have also jumped on the bandwagon, with various brands showcasing their latest marketing campaigns with an Olympic theme.

Here at Jask, we have taken note of a few brands and their campaigns and have decided to award them in true Olympic style.

Read below to see which campaign takes our gold medal.

Visa – Runner Up

Why we like it:

  • Effective at associating fun and the Olympics

Why it works:

A narrow runner up to the medals positions are Visa with their Olympic marketing campaign. The brand has formed a solid campaign following their appointment as an official worldwide sponsor of Rio 2016.

Their TV advert, titled ‘The Carpool to Rio’ follows 15 Olympians on a fictitious journey to the Olympic games in Rio. Throughout the ad you can find numerous smart and amusing ‘sketches’ of the athletes on their journey whilst they highlight the use of Visa cards in different situations. This campaign is a continuation of their successful 2014 World Cup campaign in which Usain Bolt starred, using his mobile phone to make contactless purchases.

Visa have yet again taken full advantage of a worldwide sporting event. This campaign successfully links Rio 2016 to fun and entertainment whilst giving the brand itself exposure.

We think this campaign truly brings the feel good factor to its viewers.

Procter & Gamble – Bronze

Why we like it:

  • Links the sentimental emotion of the Olympics to their brand like no other

Why it works:

Proctor & Gamble take the bronze on this list for their emotionally driven campaign. The ‘umbrella brand’ became an official worldwide partner of the Olympics and has followed by releasing an impressive piece of marketing. One of the main reasons this campaign has moved into a medal winning position is because it is so unique. The TV advert pays homage to mothers across the world by stressing how their strength inspires their children, in this case, to become athletes.

The campaign tagline ‘It takes someone strong to make someone strong’ is memorable, relatable and inspiring. P&G seem to have effectively merged with the Olympics again (after their successful London 2012 campaign) and continue to cement their position as ‘Proud sponsors of Moms’.

In our eyes, this advert succeeds by sharing the spotlight between athletes and their mothers. A simple yet unique approach to an Olympic styled marketing campaign has secured the brand a bronze medal.

Nike – Silver

Why we like it:

  • Effective and fresh use of celebrity endorsement
  • Subtle but clear product placement

Why it works:

Just like team USA at the Olympics, this American styled ad sits high on the medal table. With a clever premise, a likeable voice-over and an array of cameos, this ad really taps into the Olympic theme and does it well.

This advert is part of Nike’s ‘Unlimited You’ campaign which appears to go one step further than the ‘Just Do It’ tagline.

Back in London 2012 Nike were restricted to an ‘ambush marketing’ campaign meaning they could not hold any mention of the Olympics in their marketing efforts. However, the acquirement of a four-year deal to become official Olympic suppliers at Rio 2016 has released the shackles from Nike. Subsequently, this advert hits hard with cameos from the likes of Serena Williams, Neymar Jr, Kevin Durant and Mo Farah to name a few.

However, the idea of pitting young athletes alongside these high profile sport stars is what really reinforces this campaign’s tagline. Our favourite section of the advert is when a young child steps into what seems to be a boxing ring, ready to take on The Mountain (from Game of Thrones) whilst the voice-over shouts in terror.

Whilst there is an element of humour in this campaign the message is made clear by Nike – Encouragement. Encouragement to participate. Nike successfully provides inspiration to each viewer alongside subtle yet effective product placement in every shot of this ad, so silver medal goes to Nike.

Virgin Media – Gold

Why we like it:

  • Uses Usain Bolt’s unique world record to great creative effect
  • Endorsement from the ‘King of speed’ Bolt is relevant and on point

Why it works:

Well we couldn’t place Bolt anywhere else could we? The Virgin media ad that first aired on the 6th June, a month before Rio 2016, features Usain Bolt in a series of 9.58 second sequences. The advert is a celebration of Bolt and his world record sprint time that he set back in 2009. The use of sections that last only 9.58 seconds is inventive and bold, and keeps viewer interest high for the duration of the ad.

We’re sure you’ve recognised that at no point does the advert mention a specific Virgin Media package. This may seem odd but it does not necessarily need to. Over time Virgin Media have ingeniously formed an association between themselves and the speedy Jamaican sprinter meaning most audiences instinctively recognise the connotation of speed to their brand and therefore their media packages.

Even more interesting is the fact that Virgin Media are not an official Olympic sponsor yet this multi-channel campaign is recognised as an Olympic marketing campaign, which is all down to the power of association. Virgin Media have created a synergy with Bolt and we can only imagine that ‘Brand Bolt’ will continue to prosper.

Virgin Media takes our gold medal for both creativity and for an on point brand association strategy.

So, Virgin’s Usain Bolt ad is the frontrunner of creative marketing campaigns at Rio 2016. Do you agree with our placings?

Let us know by tweeting us your thoughts!

To see how these Olympic themed adverts have inspired Jask, check out our office athletes who are running the Birmingham half marathon later this year.



you may also be interested in...

Boost your marketing with an integrated agency

Alongside highly specialised agencies, there are agencies that take an integrated approach - covering multiple specialisms and organising internal teams to make these work together. In this blog, we cover the advantages of an integrated marketing approach and how it can boost your strategy and brand. ...

Sales in a Non-Contact World

As the old saying goes, ‘people buy people’. But with the current environment, that gives a lot of businesses a problem! However, there’s some clear things you can do to support your team and to give them the impetus to get out there (virtually!) and make those sales...

View All