How Businesses Have Used the Olympics to Market Themselves

By Adam  |  15 Aug 2016 12:00:00

The Olympics has been in full swing this week, and while some of us may have enjoyed watching the events in the comfort of our living room, business entrepreneurs have been busy flooding their social media accounts with their marketing campaigns and ads. Their attempts at swinging the public have not gone unnoticed, and as ever in the game of marketing, some campaigns have worked much better than others.


Nike have outreached the public through multimedia tools including social media and video content marketing. They have clearly sponsored several athletes and have featured their stories to the public. Most of these stories are fairly dramatic, including the story about a heavily pregnant woman who is determined to participate in athletics. The videos are well made with a noticeable yet somewhat ‘indie’ budget. Unfortunately, this particular story received a social backlash from commenters accusing the Olympian of irresponsibility. Nike has clearly been targeting the same audience through the majority of their Olympic related content, as commenters have been declaring the ad as annoying and comparing them.


UNICEF may be the last organisation thought to actually use the Olympics as a marketing tool, yet they have done so through a heavy video marketing campaign. The video is well constructed and focuses on informing the public about the new refugee team that participated in this year’s Olympics. While the video makes good impact and the feedback from the public has been strong, you can feel the lack of funding UNICEF had for this campaign, and it has depended on active public sharing for the video to snowball into the public interest. Unfortunately, the snowball hasn’t quite found the right hill to roll down, but UNICEF have done very well with this campaign.


Always is a brand that sells women sanitary products. They have been very active with a campaign to remove social stigma towards women in sport. The campaign has been long standing and its association with the Olympics is a fairly recent and timely one. Always has sponsored and interview girls in sports clubs and professional women in sports and have created video campaigns for them. They’ve developed slogans ending with “like a girl” to make an ethical point. Yet this campaign hasn’t quite hit the mark and has received a social backlash with the public criticising it’s ‘patronising tone’. It’s hard to deny otherwise with the video campaigns, which seem to have a very strong advertising budget, targeted at women with active social media accounts.

In Conclusion

Businesses have used the Olympics as a timely leverage to propel their current campaigns further. From Nike’s ‘just do it’, to UNICEF’s call for refugee aid, to Always’s neo-feminist campaign, all have depended on the strength of their video content and the power of social media. While these campaigns are powerful, the results of their impact will be debateable. Their efforts may suggest that the general public may be losing interest in the Olympics altogether. Might you be able to use it to market your own eCommerce site?

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