We all loved London 2012 and so did the world’s biggest brands. Amongst the gold medals, there was also a wealth of marketing opportunities to be won for some of the biggest brands on the planet. With ‘Official Partners’ spending tens of millions pounds for exclusive rights, would this mean they would also have the edge on their competitors during the games?
As with other global sporting events, the most high-profile battle of the brands would be fought between official Olympic sponsor Adidas, and their rival Nike. The playing field was reminiscent of the 2010 World Cup, where Nike came out on top with its ‘Write the future’ campaign. At the Games, Nike faced the challenge of the Olympic blackout period, which ran from 18 July to 15 August, preventing non-Olympic sponsors from running adverts featuring their Olympic ambassadors. However, it appears this had very little impact on Nike’s ability to make its presence felt.
Research from Social Bakers shows over 16,020 tweets associating the word ‘Nike’ with ‘Olympics’ versus around 9,300 for ‘Adidas’. Another astonishing statistic is that @Nike’s followers grew 11% from opening to closing ceremonies, adding more than 57,000 followers, compared to @adidasoriginals which grew only 4%, adding 12,000 followers over the same time period. Finally, Nike added twice as many Facebook fans as Adidas during the Games.
Nike’s multimedia campaign tagline ‘Find Your Greatness’ may not have been an official Olympic message, but it fuelled conversation nonetheless, with the #findgreatness hashtag earning over 7,000 more tweets than Adidas’s #takethestage.
These statistics prove that both campaigns were very successful. However, Nike’s additional drive to win over Adidas and focus on the social elements of its campaign, rather than relying on the ability to use the Olympic content as part of its armoury, made its campaign the better of the two. We feel a bit of déjà vu coming on….
Nobody can question that official Olympic sponsors such as Adidas will have seen a significant uplift in brand recall and huge benefits from their campaigns overall. However, Nike’s social success across the Olympics also shows that non-sponsors could benefit significantly from the games. It also shows that £80m can buy you exposure, but it doesn’t necessarily buy you people’s exclusive love.