The Olympic Games are nearly here, and that means it’s time for the Big Brands to do their best to connect with the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza. It’s already popping off across NYC as top brands from Coke to Samsung try to be the first in and make the biggest splash.
While consumers can expect more than their fair share of “big” blockbuster ads coupling a brand message with Olympic spirit, some of the best and most memorable ads will likely come from the brand that manages to get just the right amount of story and tearjerker emotion into a spot.
In this particular arena, Coca-Cola is leading the charge and setting the pace with a series of “gold” moments that put athletes together to share a “Coke moment”. But the soft drink company is far from alone. Visa has various groups of athletes – customized for different markets – carpooling to Rio. Samsung shows a runner from Olympic first-timer South Sudan making his way to the Games.
One of the most heartfelt ad series to date belongs to Proctor and Gamble, who has unleashed a “Thank You Mom” campaign telling the stories of how certain moms have inspired and supported Olympic athletes.
There’s a lot of money being spent here, but there’s still an unsettling and often unspoken reality. There may not be as much money to be made. These Olympics have been fraught with issues, large and small. From the closing of the biggest drug testing facility to the ongoing Zika crisis, Brazil has been in crisis mode for weeks, and an increasing number of athletes have already said they plan to skip these games.
Add to that the audience drain from people just doing other things. The days where everyone sat and watched sporting events, especially those lasting weeks, is largely over. Many untold millions are content to get regular updates on social media and watch highlight videos on their favorite news or sports channel. They’re thinking: why sit through the commercials?
This is the streaming generation, the ever-increasing demo that advertisers covet but struggle to reach through the ever-changing landscape of how this cohort consumes its media and gets its news.
In the past advertisers have experimented with YouTube crossover commercials and even series of shorts aimed at mobile devices. But that was four years ago, and the world has moved on. There’s still big money to be paid for TV time, but advertisers need to diversify if they want to get the bang for their buck to which they are accustomed.
“David Firester is the founder of TRAC Intelligence.”