March 12, 2018
The 2018 Winter Paralympics kicked off last week in PyeongChang, Korea, following the hugely successful Winter Olympics. There’s been a short break between the two competitions, which has given us the time to find out what benefits the brands that sponsored the Olympics have received, and what the sponsors of the Paralympics can expect.
Whilst the Winter Olympics differs from the Summer Games in the fact that there are fewer sports and fewer countries taking part, there is a different audience which is on offer for brands to snap up.
The average viewer of the Winter Paralympics tends to be over the age of 50, however, this year the International Olympic Committee have tried to attract a younger audience by including newer ‘funkier’ sports to try and reposition the Winter Olympics.
The top 13 partners of the Olympics, which included Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Samsung, were all offered an avenue to develop support programmes. Between them, these companies doubled previous sponsorship figures from the last Games in 2014.
Social media is a great platform for brands to get the most out of their sponsorship deal. Gone are the days when a simple advert before a programme, or a billboard in a busy city will suffice. To achieve success, brands must provide fresh or novelty content to stand out.
In the constantly evolving digital world, it is essential that brands keep their fingers on the pulse in order to maximise the benefits and returns from the sponsorship deal.
With less and less of us watching live-TV sports, brands have reacted by providing social media and digital tie-ins, not only during the Games, but before and after too.
It’s been reported that during the Winter Olympics, from the 7th to 22nd February, there were twice as many Facebook engagements than there were in the six months leading up to the Games.
Among global sponsors, Intel took the gold medal for the highest Facebook and Twitter engagement during the Games, with its social media posts that were centered around its drone technology.
But it was Alibaba Group that took the silver medal on the two platforms with its first Olympic-centered campaign that we’ve decided to take a closer look at. The brand ran three adverts as part of its ‘To the Greatest of Small’ campaign:
· One of the adverts introduced the brand to the world and served as its manifesto on how small businesses and entrepreneurs can make a difference.
· Another told the story of a Kenyan hockey team eager to attend the Olympics despite never having seen ice.
· And the final one was about Henry "Bobby" Pearce, an Australian rower who, during the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, stopped his lead in a race short to avoid crashing into a family of ducks and went on to win the gold medal.
The Chinese brand promoted themselves via social media in the UK, US, and Japan as well as on TV and digital platforms in China and in Korea. Not only that, but Alibaba also built an interactive out-of-home experience with Chiel Group that was in Gangneung Olympic Park, which ran from the 11th to the 25th February.
So, what did Alibaba and the Olympics get out of the partnership? Well, Alibaba provided cloud-computing infrastructure and services, which helped to propel the Games into the digital era and created a global platform for Olympic stakeholders to engage with fans that were seeking official Olympic-licensed products.
As a result, Alibaba received global brand awareness and expanded its international footprint, whilst securing its position as a global player. It also interacted with consumers via the out-of-home experience and used social media to connect with fans and spread the brand to a whole new audience.
Chris Tung, Alibaba Group Chief Marketing Officer, said: “Through this campaign, we can share the story of what Alibaba has stood for from day one, which is to support the small guy and leverage our technology to help the underdog succeed in the global marketplace. We believe that technology can level the playing field and that even small companies have the opportunity to be global companies.”
Consumer goods giant P&G said it views the Olympics as a global opportunity which can unite people by celebrating human endeavor. It used its Olympic campaigns to highlight gender and racial bias through its ‘Like a Girl’ and ‘We See Equal’ campaigns.
P&G has used the Olympics as a platform to spread its brand values to a worldwide audience, whilst relating it to ongoing issues that face many people.
There are also great opportunities to get behind your country’s team. For example, Aldi launched a campaign illustrating the “adventurous spirit” of the Winter Olympics, Toyota used its role as the Olympics’ ‘worldwide mobility partner’ to “inspire the world to move”. Toyota launched idents for the Games’ coverage on both Eurosport and Channel 4, alongside TV, print and digital, whilst Visa launched its official app.
Virgin Media also recently partnered with the British Paralympic Association just in time to sponsor the 2018 Winter Paralympics joining the likes of Adidas, Sainsburys, and Toyota as gold-tier partners.
So, there we have it. With so many great opportunities available, and so many benefits to be had, we predict that the sponsors of the Winter Paralympics will reap great rewards from their deals.