The 7 Best Olympics-Related Marketing Campaigns

April 9, 2018

I have a confession. I only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. I couldn’t care less about football—being from Philly, I’ve had my heart broken enough—but I love watching puppies and kids and emotions sell brands. Forget big men pushing each other around, it’s all about the ads!

But even better than the Super Bowl is the Olympics. They only come once every two years and, even better, they are weeks of heart-string-tugs and motivational marketing campaigns.

The best in the business launched marketing campaigns around this summer’s Olympic games. Not only are they fun to watch, they can teach us smaller businesses how to draw the same emotions out of our potential customers.


Olympic Marketing Campaigns

#1. Coca-Cola

This Olympic season, Coke screened their famous Super Bowl commercial “Together is Beautiful” in conjunction with their #ThatsGold campaign. The marketing director at Coca-Cola said, “The campaign is built on a basic insight: The outcome of any experience is about the memory you are left with after the experience is over.” Coca-Cola is all about sharing a coke and an experience with your friends.


How can you be more like Coca Cola? Associate your brand with a happy experience and encourage your customers to share your product with your friends. Outside of the Olympics, Lyft and Uber do this really well—customers are encouraged to share codes with their friends for a discount and five-star riders are rewarded with discounts on their own rides.

#2. Visa Checkout

Visa’s Olympic campaign was easily my favorite. They included an upbeat tune behind the dialogue, humor, and a variety of athletes. We had a glimpse into their personalities, which I loved! It honestly felt a bit like a campaign of Dad-jokes. I have no problem with that. And now I know that Ashton Eaton should be my best friend.


How can you be more like Visa? Be a real person, identify with your audience. Don’t be afraid to showcase your strengths—and the quirks that go along with those—in a humorous way. Another great example of this is Kate Spade. Their Miss Adventure campaign was cute, funny, and showcases their brand as not-just-another-snooty-New-Yorker.

#3. Proctor & Gamble

P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” commercials: giving you goosebumps and making you cry since 2012. This year, various P&G brands featured “Raising an Olympian” where we heard from the mothers of Alex Morgan, Ashton Eaton, Simone Biles, Allyson Felix, and Lex Gillette. Always also chipped in, with the #LikeAGirl campaign that made me deeply regret quitting soccer when I was in middle school. I could have been an Olympian!



How can you be more like P&G? Make your audience cry. Just kidding! Don’t be afraid to get personal. Show the struggle. Show how far you’ve come! Everyone loves a good success story. Our own Larry Kim shows how far WordStream has come in his presentations—from an idea in Panera to a 200-person company—and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.

#4. Mini USA

Speaking of getting personal, Mini featured interviews with Olympic athletes, explaining how they are more than what they look like. In the #DefyLabels campaign, athletes such as Serena Williams, Carlos Balderas, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Claressa Shields wore American paraphernalia and talked about their sport and their backgrounds.


How can you be more like Mini USA? Prove that your brand is more than meets the eye. Show your audience how you are unique and can exceed expectations. I think the best way to do this is through customer reviews and testimonials. They can be hard to come by, but treasure them like gold.

 #5. Under Armour

I’m sure you’ve seen the click bait, “Michael Phelps Cries after he watches THIS Commercial.” I clicked, I watched that commercial that supposedly made Phelps cry. I didn’t cry, but it was pretty awesome. Under Armour continued their “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light. Rule Yourself” campaign for the Olympics—featuring the US Women’s Gymnastics Team and All-Time Olympian Michael Phelps. This campaign was released way before the Olympics even started, but it’s making the list because it’s awesome and showcases Olympic training. I especially like the music in the Women’s Gymnastics video!

The Rule Yourself campaign has also shown ads with Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry, and Tom Brady.


How can you be more like Under Armour? Similar to P&G, show off your hard work. It can be like resume building for the brand as a whole. If you’re a lawyer or an electrician or a marketer in an agency, it’s all about the hard work you put in to get to your goal. Let your clients see how hard you work.

#6. Samsung

Though I didn’t tear up during the Michael Phelps commercial, I did when I saw Samsung’s #DoWhatYouCant campaign. “The Chant” with Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan, the first South Sudanese Olympian, showed her entire, new nation behind her. “The Anthem” highlights a mix for national anthems sung, recorded, and viewed on a Samsung phone. If you really want to cry, Samsung also published a short documentary on the struggles it takes underdogs to get to the Olympics and ‘defy barriers’.


(The guy at 0:40 in the orange shirt is my favorite.)

How can you be more like Samsung? As High School Musical tells us all, “We’re all in this together.” The success of your business is due to your customers and clients, just as you are involved in their wins. Remember to thank your clients when you achieve a business milestone. Facebook does this really well through the “On This Day” feature which celebrates years of Facebook friendships. 

#7. Hershey’s

To me, Hershey’s Olympic campaign was a surprise. Chocolate and Olympians? No way. But of course, they made their “Hello from Home” marketing campaign with Simone Biles, Jordan Burroughs, and Mallory Weggemann adorable and touching.


How can you be more like Hershey’s? Sell delicious chocolate bars. Or simply remind your customers that you care. At WordStream, our customer marketing team stays on top of the successes of our clients. We like to send notes and WordStream swag to clients who are doing particularly well, letting them know that their hard work in PPC hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Mary Lister

Mary is a content writer/strategist at Starry, Inc. and an enthusiast of all things Internet. When she's not writing words for work, you can find her eating extra-cheesy pizza while planning her next trip.

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