Monday, July 23, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Official Brand Partner Ads: Which are Good? Which are Bad?

London 2012 Olympics is, as time of writing this article, starting this week. So I thought it was a good time to look at the advertising being shown, and to share some thoughts. And to get your thoughts and comments.

Most of the advertising related news so far has been about the restrictions that the IOC and the London Organising Committee enforces on advertising, and use of the iconic "5 Rings Logo". 
There are very strict rules, where basically only the Official Sponsors and Partners can use any form of link to the Olympics or the logo. Small shopkeepers fret they can be sued, and there are the inevitable grumbles and complaints about how strict the regulations are, and how they are enforced.

On the positive side it actually means that, as someone living in London, that you are not totally overwhelmed on TV, Print and media by total blanket of ads talking Athletes and Olympics. It means that there are a few key ads you do see.

The problem is though even with the few that there are, they are almost all interchangeable and any brand could have run any of them. 
They almost could have been shot and then a simple "pop your brand in here" option given.

Here are 13 of the Olympics Sponsor and Partner ads. I believe that they can be grouped into 4 categories:

  1. Feel Good Ads about the Olympics and Competing. Motivating and well executed, but they are really just about the Olympics and Competing. Any of the sponsors could likely have run these, and it is hard to recall exactly which brand they are for most of the time: 
    1. Some use the Games/ Competing Generally: McDonalds (Rivals); BP (Fuelling the Future); TSB Lloyds (For the Journey).
    2. Some use Athlete Brand Ambassadors they sponsor/ hire: Samsung (David Beckham); Visa (Usain Bolt); BT Infinity (Oscar Pistorius GB Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee) and Omega (Chinese diver Qiu Bo, U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos and U.S. pole vaulter Jenn Suhr)
  2. Feel Good Ads celebrating the important person behind an Athlete: Their Mum. Again emotive and well executed. But a "generic" story that any could have run: P&G (Honouring the Role of Mums) and National Lottery (Jenny Meadows Mother's Story).
  3. Everyday People and How they Connect to the Games. These also tend to have the best sponsor product integration into the ads. These, I believe, will prove to be the better recalled to the brand. They also, for me, are my most favourite ads: British Airways (Home Advantage: encouraging UK residents to stay home and support Team GB): Coke (Torch Relay Ads capturing how everyone related and could get access to this part of the games in their home towns). I would also put the EDF Electricity Ad in here (Where 2 workmen play around in the various stadiums "testing" them out.. something we would all do if we had access those 2 had).
  4. Business-to-Business Messages that use the scale of the Olympics to show what they could do for their customers everyday. The best and most direct example is the UPS (If), although you could argue the EDF ad should be in this group.
My 2 most favourite ads from all of these are The British Airways Home Advantage (which I have written about previously) and the EDF "Workmen" Ad
The latter as it amused me, and it made me recall who it was for. What are yours? Leave a comment and thoughts on the Marketing Unleashed blog

Here are the ads. They are in the order I mentioned them above

McDonalds London 2012: Rivals Advert: For The Olympic Spirit in Us All

They Say:  The Olympic spirit lives within us all. And when gold medals don't provide enough motivation for greatness, McDonald's is proud to serve the Happy Meals, Big Macs, and Fries that put everyone in the mood for a little competition.

BP London 2012: Fuelling the Future Ad

They say: BP is proud to be the Official Oil and Gas Partner for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad

Lloyds TSB: For The Journey (chance to win tickets/ carry the torch)

They say: The ad brings together some of the favourite characters from previous Lloyds TSB adverts and shows how we're bringing London 2012 closer to communities all across the UK.

Samsung London 2012 Partner: I'm Taking Part Ad (David Beckham)

They Say:  Feel the anticipation, suspense, triumphs and joys as the world get together to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games. Starring Samsung's official ambassador for the Olympic Games, David Beckham, follow the journey of the GALAXY S III, from Mumbai to Shanghai and Los Angeles, as it captures the most emotional moments of the Games. The TV commercial will be aired starting July 16 in over 20 countries including UK, France and China. Wherever you are, you can take part in this historic moment. The GALAXY S III, Samsung's Olympic Games Phone. Everyone's Olympic Games.

Visa Credit Card: Usain Bolt Vs. London "Flow Faster"

They say:  Flow Faster with Visa - See Usain Bolt race across London. (Showcases the Contactless Playment Card system)

BT Infinity: Passion For Speed

They say: Watch our stunning new BT Infinity ad starring Gold Paralympic Sprinter Oscar Pistorius and GB Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

Omega: Official Time Keeper of London 2012 "Start Me Up"

They say: It's been 80 years since OMEGA first timed an Olympic Games, and as Official Timekeeper for London 2012, OMEGA will once again bear witness to Olympic glory. The footage features the Rolling Stones' classic hit "Start Me Up", the ad features Chinese diver Qiu Bo, U.S. swimmer Natalie Coughlin, British heptathlete Jessica Ennis, U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos and U.S. pole vaulter Jenn Suhr . The focus is on the athletes' routines and concentration in the pivotal minutes and seconds before competition, a moment in time for each athlete that can set the tone for a potentially life-changing performance. 

Procter & Gamble: Honouring the Role of Mums

They say: Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. But it's also the best. This Procter & Gamble commercial honors everything that all moms do to help their children succeed by showcasing the amazing moms behind Olympic athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The hardest job in the world is truly the best job in the world.

National Lottery Funded Athletes Ad: Jenny Meadows Mother's Story

They say: Inspired by the story of 800 metres runner Jenny Meadows' mother, our newest TV advert looks at how National Lottery funding helps British athletes achieve their dreams. Extended version. Thanks to TNL players we're helping over 1,200 British athletes fulfil their dreams at London 2012 and beyond. No-one has contributed more to our athletes than our players.

British Airways: Home Advantage

They say: This summer, the greatest sports event on Earth comes to London. And our best sportsmen and women have a once in a lifetime opportunity, to compete at the highest level with the whole country behind them. That's why we're asking the nation to join together, to give our athletes the greatest home advantage we can give them. It could be the difference in seconds and millimetres, turning silver into gold. This summer, there's nowhere else in the world to be.

Coca-Cola London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Ad

They say: Move To The Beat of London 2012 with the latest Coca-Cola UK TV advert as we begin our celebrations of this summer's Olympic Games. The ad captures some of the most magical moments of the Olympic Torch Relay, and celebrates our amazing Future Flames. To get the latest Coca-Cola news from the London 2012 Olympic Games

EDF Powering The Games Ad: Workmen Test the London 2012 Stadium

They Say: EDF is an official partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, supplying the Olympic Park with low carbon electricity for a sustainable Olympics to remember.

UPS: Official Logistics Supplier: "If" Ad

They say: UPS is doing the logistics for London 2012. And if UPS can do that for the Olympic Games, just imagine what they can do for your business.

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