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Brands get ready for the Olympics

News, 01 August 2016

LONDON: The Summer Olympics in London four years ago was the first time that brands launched digital-first campaigns on a global scale, but for this year's event in Rio de Janeiro they are expected to use social in a deeper and more meaningful way.

On top of their investment in social campaigns, brands are expected to create ways for sports fans to participate globally by helping them to connect with live moments while sharing human stories instead of just promoting features.

Another major development since 2012 is that the relaxation of official sponsorship rules, or Article 40, means that non-sponsors will be able to launch marketing campaigns around the Games as long as they do not include any official logos, symbols or certain words, such as "Rio" or "gold".

These are some of the conclusions from Campaign magazine, which took a comprehensive look at how global brands are preparing for the world's biggest sporting event that kicks off this Friday.

Coca-Cola, the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic Games, will be running a campaign across 50 markets called #ThatsGold, which uses footage of 79 athletes from more than 20 countries.

Traditional channels, such as TV and out-of-home, will feature famous gold moments from previous Olympic Games and the faces of some of the most famous athletes from around the world, but there will be a major push on social media too.

A real-time marketing hub is being established in Rio de Janeiro that will monitor social conversation during the Games and create content around key moments in real time, Campaign reported.

"Our digital efforts aim to engage teens in what's happening beyond what they see on TV and bring them into the Rio 2016 experience," said Kate Hartman, Coca-Cola's Director of Global Brand PR.

Meanwhile, FMCG giant Procter & Gamble has launched a new video called "Strong", part of its "Thank You, Mom" campaign, which follows the Olympic Games journeys of four mothers and their children and emphasises the difference a mother's strength can bring.

Another brand concentrating on "human truths" rather than their own products is Visa, the international financial services firm, which is sponsoring ten refugee athletes as new additions to Team Visa.

"Our Olympic sponsorship benefits Visa's bottom line directly as well as reflects the qualities we value at Visa," explained Gary Twelvetree, Executive Director of Brand and Central Marketing at Visa Europe.

"Visa's Olympic partnership and unique marketing programmes help enhance preference for our products and services," he added.

Data sourced from Campaign, Coca-Cola, P&G; additional content by Warc staff