The Magic of the Winter Olympics

March 1, 2018
Nicola McKelvey

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games have now finished but it’s not all over as the Paralympics kick off on 9th March.

I love watching the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. I first got the bug eight years ago when I was lucky enough to go to Vancouver 2010 with my former employer and global Olympic sponsor Visa.

At the time, the Games felt like the cooler sibling to the slightly more sanitised Summer Olympics. I watched ski cross make its debut , tried to follow the puck in (ice) hockey and fell in love with a marmot called Mukmuk.

Brand activations

For sponsors, the Games provide an excellent opportunity to showcase new products and services. Vancouver 2010 was Proctor & Gamble’s first Games and where they kicked off their ‘moms’ creative. It was obviously a success as they continue to use a version of that campaign to this day.

What about the brands this year?

In terms of social media mentions, Brandwatch reports that Intel received the most mentions, perhaps thanks to its VR headset campaign and the Intel Shooting Star drones used in the closing ceremony.

But for me, these are the brands which stood out this year.

The ecommerce giant celebrated its first Games as a sponsor with a nice campaign around ‘the greatness of small’, highlighting their support of small businesses. The advert has more than nine million views on YouTube so they must be doing something right.

Another TOP sponsor, Samsung used these Games to showcase their technical innovation by developing a ‘SmartSuit’ for two Dutch speed skaters. With one skater winning the Netherlands’ first ever gold medal in short track speed skating, I’d wager other counties will be looking for their own Samsung SmartSuit.

Ralph Lauren
Team USA have Ralph Lauren as their Official Outfitter. For these Games, the team were lucky enough to have been kitted out in self-heating jackets – with a different one for the opening and closing ceremonies, naturally.

Under Armour
Another company who focused on speed skating – this time for Team USA. After a disappointing performance in Sochi, Under Armour developed a supposedly physics-defeating speedsuit. Unfortunately it was to little success.

The athletes
We see a lot of brands trying to tap into the emotion of the Games or any live sporting event  but nothing beats watching the ecstasy of winning or in some cases, the agony of losing.

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