London 2012 brands: winning gold, or just medalling

August 15, 2012 - 4 minutes read
With the games over, the torch passed on and the post-Olympic blues just settling in, it seems like a good time to reflect on just how fantastic London 2012 actually was (before the archetypical British cynicism sets in, inevitably). Team GB achieved the highest medal tally in over a century, generating record viewing figures for the BBC, plus over 150 million tweets in total over the 16 days! The vibe around London was supercharged: everyone got caught up in the fever.
Best Olympic games ever? The success of London 2012 has also brought success for many of the official sponsors, where positive brand perception has been created through association with the Olympics. The games provided an unforgettable experience – one which aimed to inspire a generation – and sponsors certainly made the most of all the heightened emotion.

But instead of passively promoting their brand through their products, the best advertisers turned to storytelling and consumer interaction: both much more effective ways of creating a long-term emotional connection to their brand. The two weeks were full of inspired commercials and innovative experiential marketing events. Here are a few of the best ads:



This advert is so highly charged with emotion it could almost pass as a short film (you’ll have to forgive the American ‘Mom’):


This BP advert seeks to created a united British identity, both athletes and citizens:
Nike was not an official Olympic sponsor, but got in on the action through ambush advertising. This commercial aims to inspire, rather than to just sell clothes:
Brands need to show that they have core values, which go further than merely trying to sell their product. What has come out most significantly in the Olympics is that sponsors must actively participate in the event, through social engagement, and demonstrate that they really care for their customers. They must have a reason behind what they do, which goes deeper than just the ‘what’ (i.e. we sell sports shoes) and demonstrates the ‘why’ (i.e. we want everyone to play sport).
Here are some inspired experiential marketing events and stunts that came out of the Olympics:
Here EDF shows it is not just an energy company, but wants to use its product in order to connect people through social media:
Volkswagen certainly got people energised by the Olympic spirit:
Nike wants to get people enthused by sport by showing them the actual experience of being an athlete. See the Camp Victory Olympic Pavilion video here.
Coke created an interactive building as a musical instrument.
Consumers want to have a reason to be loyal to a brand, and it seems they tend to value experiences more than they value things.
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