Some of the best adverts we saw during the Olympic Games

This year’s Olympic Games have been a spectacular show of athleticism and real sense of community.  For brands the popularity of the Games means it is of course something they want to get their name associated with.  Furthermore, they want their brand in front of the millions of people all over the world.

However, for those that have achieved the increase in sales figures are those that struck the right balance between selling their product/service and capitalising on the value and the sentiments of the Games.

Below are some of the best ads to run during the Olympic Games (in no particular order!).

1) Coca-Cola – “Gold Feelings”

Coca-Cola’s adverts continue to connect with people through emotional means and their “Gold Feelings” advert is no different.  Describing the feeling of winning gold, through a series of Olympians winning their medals.  All from different countries, across a number of different sports.  Whilst at the same time injecting images of people drinking Coca-Cola.  What makes it good?  It’s portrayed as all very natural and all very cleverly linked with their new strapline of “taste the feeling”.  It also follows on nicely from the “together is beautiful” adverts which ran before and at the beginning of the Olympics.  Showing that friends and families can share this classically fizzy drink.  Proving that (as the brand claims) “together is beautiful”.

2) Visa – “the Carpool to Rio”

This has to be one of my favourite ads from the Olympics.  Jumping on the success that “carpool karaoke” is having, Visa cleverly designed their advert “the carpool to Rio”.  Not only did this resonate with people around the world, it also showed a lighter approach to a product being promoted.  The advert featured, `Team Visa Olympians` with a great story of how they use Visa as part of their everyday life – the Olympics being their everyday life.  It is funny, makes you smile, relatable ad.  It is also a great show of comradery as it highlights athletes from all over the globe.  They’ve really touched on the spirit and fun which is the Olympics and whilst at it, shown how simple and easy Visa can be!

3) Nike – “unlimited together”

From Googles own research it has been reported that 34.4% of consumers remembered seeing Nike’s “unlimited” campaign.  Championing the stories of everyday athletes like Chris Mosier, Sister Madonna Buder and Kyle Maynard.  The stark black and white commercial combined music, branding, sports and above all, team unity.  Their aim for the advert was to let the Olympians tell their story.  As well as let them also know that “we the people would like you to know: wherever you go, we’re right by your side”.  Nike are looking to show how everyone is coming together as one.  To stand united, to support their teams, their athletes, their country.  The sporting brand is also positioning itself as a brand that is there for and has something for everyone.

4) McDonald’s – “friends win”

McDonald’s were a `proud sponsor` of the Olympics and started their commercials early with the promotion of their kids programme.  Promoting a shared vision and passion, creating lifelong friendships and again showing the `coming together`.  Of course putting children in the mix certainly pulls on the emotional heart strings.  So too does the thought that through the programme your child could win a once in a lifetime trip to the Rio Olympic Games.

5) Procter and Gamble – “thank you Mom”

Every parent around the world, watches this advert with a lump in their throat.  It is, put simply, an amazing piece of creative.  Following on from their huge social pull at the 2012 Olympics with “best job” the team needed to up their game and they certainly managed that! For a global company with multiple brand it is difficult to find a niche, but P&G have once again pulled on the emotional draw.  Capturing perfectly the struggle and effort that goes into sports training.  Whilst subtly plugging the company’s products that are used in everyday life.  The proud support from the sidelines of a parent is something many people can identify with.

6) BMW Mini – “defy labels”

BMW Mini’s Olympics advert looks at shaking of the derogatory labels and refusing to let other people’s prejudice hobble your success.  The work celebrates the diversity and individuality.  Highlighting specifically 8 U.S. athletes to help promote their story.  The athletes take part in an interview which tells of their own personal stories.  Again it is this emotional relationship which the brand is creating.  People can relate to other people.  The theme and the creative is very sophisticated and stylish, just like their global image.

7) Samsung – “the Anthem”

Samsung’s advert focused on the official Olympic anthem.  Being sang by people all over the world, recorded on their, of course Samsung.  However, this was subtle and what Samsung highlighted was the unity.  How different countries have come together with one anthem for one major Olympic sporting event.

8) Nissan – “Bolt vs flame”

Their Bolt vs Flame ad, has you gripped to the edge of your seat (or was that just me?)!  The cheekiness of Bolt as well as the determination and passion to succeed is again something that people can relate too.  And not only that, they want to see what Usain Bolt is capable of.  Can he really beat the speed of a flame?  Of course the ingenious part was for Nissan to conclude the story with the, “find out at the Rio 2016 Olympics!”

9) Hershey’s – “hello from home”

Hershey’s certainly have the feel good factor with their “hello from home” adverts.  The adverts are so emotionally compelling that as a viewer you can’t help but be hooked.  The ad starred U.S. gymnast Simone Bile’s, where we see her friends and family talking about her.  Then culminating in Bile’s opening a box of letters.  It is the complete human and simplistic approach to this advert which has its viewers hooked.  The advert has already been viewed on YouTube nearly 3.3 million times!  It is those adverts which resonate with people which have the most impact.  For Hershey’s they certainly hit the nail on the head.

10) Channel 4 – “meet the superhumans”

In support of the Paralympics and to kick start the promotion, during the 2016 Olympic Games, these adverts are stylish and inspiring.  It is the skill and commitment of the athletes which changes perceptions.  They manage to capture the raw emotion of our athletes.  And do so in such a way that you’re instantly inspired, captivated and wanting to see more.  A great way to get people to tune into the Paralympics, kicking off on 7 September.


What all of these adverts show the creativity that the teams and the agencies can produce when they have something special, like the Olympics to work with.  It is the biggest opportunity for them to build their brand and expand their brand into different markets and countries.  The focus on the product and sales is secondary.  As what the most successful adverts achieved this year was being able to demonstrate an emotional connection.

Google has since carried out research into this area and found that non-sponsors saw a jump of 27 percentage points for consumers who saw their ad.  Ads for official sponsors, meanwhile, increased positive sentiment by 24 percentage points.

Playing devil’s advocate, if all brands are focused on finding the personal and emotional element.  They all use athletes and their stories in the adverts – then what actually makes them different to each other?  And in this sense do all of the ads not simply roll into one and specific, focused and targeted branding is lost?

However, what is most important for brands to remember, is that we live and work in a digital age now.  And this will continue to change and develop by the time the next Olympics in Tokyo comes around.  With more people this year watching the Olympics on mobile devices and again from Google reports, 83% of Google searches about Olympic ads came from smartphones – it’s certainly something to bear in mind when developing the next big commercial!

References:  LacriaturacreativaAd WeekPaste Magazine
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