The Olympic games are now in full swing, but if you’re like many young professionals, time is limited and you may not always get around to catching all the great promotional spots that surround this great sporting event.
The power and ubiquity of social media has changed the advertising game. Successful campaigns have to appeal emotionally to a widespread audience, at least enough to organically incite a viewer to want to share content with their network of friends and acquaintances. Thus, the social virality of any message is largely tied to the genuine ability of an ad to trigger the emotional connections that we share as human beings.
Sports have always existed as that kind of medium, and sporting brands like Nike and Adidas have often risen to the challenge of creating memorable videos that aren’t easily forgotten.
During the 2012 Olympic games, one traditional brand and two unlikely promoters rose to the occasion to capture my votes for best-of this summer.
1. Nike: Find Your Greatness
Known for its numerous campaigns that often weave the backbone of sports into a compelling story of humanity, Nike once again appealed to the inner athlete in all of us.
Not only is the message the type of inspiration that is easily consumed, it was also a brilliant display of what the IOC refers to as “ambush marketing.” Nike strategically built a campaign around London the name, and not London, England. By taking the focus away from the seemingly superhuman athletes that are celebrated in the spotlight of London, and instead appealing to the greatness inside all of us not present at the Olympics, Nike avoided having to fork over hefty amounts of money to the official London “greats” while building a solid connection to the millions who strive for greatness every day.
2. P&G: Best Job
Everyone knows the responsibility which comes with raising another human being is an incredibly hard task worthy of a gold medal. But if you were to ask all the moms in the world who have done it, they would probably all tell you it’s one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of their life. At least that’s the message we take away from the Proctor & Gamble official Olympic Games film.
By projecting success as a function of support from the one person who will usually love you more than any other human being on the planet, P&G captured the emotional connection we all share with our mamas. Not only do we, as children, easily connect, this short film also does a good job of celebrating the joy and pride mothers feel when seeing their kids succeed.
The golden validation that athletes strive for—that hard currency which proves you’re better than the rest—has always present in your mother’s eye. After you watch this, make sure you hug or call your mom.
3. Channel 4 Paralympics
For this last one, although the video will speak for itself, you can refer to this excerpt from Fast Co. for some background:
A striking 90-second TV ad is the current highlight of Channel 4’s multi-million pound “Meet the Superhumans” strategy–the broadcaster’s biggest single marketing push in its 30 year history. The spot, underlining the channel’s role as official broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, was created by the channel’s in-house agency 4Creative and directed by Tom Tagholm. Launched simultaneously across 78 channels at 9pm GMT on July 17, its pounding soundtrack is Public Enemy track “Harder Than You Think.”
If you’d like to check out additional Olympics ads, make sure to check out Fast Co.’s Top 12 ads article and pay attention to who they ranked as their number 1 ad (it’s none of the ones mentioned in this post). Let me know if you think it deserved the number one spot, or if you connected to any of the ads above in a more meaningful way.