Utilizing the Power of Emotion in Olympic Advertisements

The 2016 Summer Olympics are set to start this August 5th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the first time a South American nation is going to host the games with 10,500 athletes from 205 different countries taking part in them. Over a period of 17 days, there will be 306 competitions and 42 sports with Golf and Rugby making a comeback after 112 years and 92 years respectively.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a haven for marketers!

A detailed study published by Marketing Week reveals the reasons why all marketers, big and small, are making a beeline for the Olympics.  Here are the highlights :

  • Brands can directly reach consumers when they watch the event in their homes or with a group at a bar, sportsclub, or pub.

  • About 59% of people are likely to share content about the Olympics. About 43% will do it once or more than once per day.

  • Ongoing events are the most popular time for sharing content (56%).

  • The most popular devices for sharing include smartphones (25%) and laptops (21%).

  • 79% viewers will watch the Olympics on TV, 59% on a smartphone and 47% on their tablets.

  • 20% viewers will talk about the ongoing events using online chat platforms while 19% will search for additional information. 16% of them will post their comments on social networks.

This means brands will get opportunities galore to get the attention they want from their target audience. More specifically, it is the advertisements, which can catapult the brands’ engagement, although it may not necessarily convert into increased sales.

One of the key ways brands connect with their target customers comes via emotional advertising.

The Power of Emotion in Advertising

Let’s face it. Advertisements are more or less emotional in nature and utilize research on the power emotional value to influence consumers to share and buy. There are examples aplenty from both recent and older Olympic games that serve as examples of the draw of emotional ads.

Let’s take a look at some of the best emotional ads by brands for the Olympics over the years.

1. Procter & Gamble – “Thank you, Mom!”

Procter & Gamble is a brand that is well-known for creating emotionally-charged ad campaigns. Its Thank you, Mom!campaign for the Olympics explores the mother-child bond between young athletes and their mothers.

The success of Thank You, Mom began when P&G’s spot for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics gained massive popularity. Their positive feedback led them to come up with “Best Job” and “Thank You Mom” commercials for the 2012 London Olympics, followed by a sequel for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The campaign included TV spots, online ad,s and print ads, ultimately winning an Emmy for the best prime-time commercial. The next installment of “Thank You Mom – Strong” for the Rio Olympics is equally as popular, having gone viral preceding the 2016 games.

P & G made it work by,

  • Making the ad simple so that everyone could connect with the concept of the mother-child bond.

  • Stating their facts in a simple, yet brilliant terms.

  • Showcasing real-life situations.

  • Acknowledging the most thankless and yet, most important job of all-time – Motherhood.

However, the campaign wasn’t limited to these ads alone. The company extended their marketing campaign with some marketing gimmicks, one of which was surprising mothers with tickets to the London games Opening Ceremony, which was a hit with P&G’s audience.

As a result, it became one of the most successful ad campaigns company history. The ads delivered a $200 million increment in sales in the U.S. with 17 Million downloads on YouTube,, achieving 33.6 Billion earned media impressions.

2. MINI Cooper – “Win Small.”

MINI Cooper enjoys representing the compact car market in the U.S., proudly acknowledging the record for Maximum Number of People to Fit Inside a MINI Cooper! — (66) Sadly, however, the vehicle’s sales figures aren’t anything to write home about.

The brand took advantage of its “disadvantage” with its “Win Small” campaign, becoming one of the sponsors of the 2012 London Olympics. The campaign celebrates the triumph of comparatively “small-sized” competitors, who defy the odds to emerge champions. Apart from the television spot, the auto manufacturer featured the campaign on billboards and throughout social media, where it encouraged people to share how they overcame difficulties in their life.

As was expected, their sales skyrocketed. In July 2012, MINI sold 5,855 automobiles, which was 9.8% more than that of the previous year’s month of July sales-to-date. This was their most successful July in their history of operation in the U.S.!

3. Samsung – “The Anthem”

Another brand that joins the ‘emotional advertisement bandwagon in the Olympics this year, is Samsung. Promoting their latest product, the Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung’s ‘One World, One Anthem’ ad is simple, but aims to connect with the audience emotionally. Viewers are introduced to several anthems, but in an unconventional manner. The anthem of a particular country is heard playing in a foreign nation or being sung by citizens belonging of a differing nation.

With this ad, it appears Samsung wants show that the brand is not confined by geographical boundaries, and that “it aims to unite the world through technology and borderless communication.” The amalgamation of different anthems from various nations is amazing, and we’d be surprised if its popularity doesn’t escalate during the 2016 games.

4. Nike – “Find Your Greatness”

Next on the list is Nike’s ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign.  It drives home a powerful message for every athlete and sportsperson who wants to push their limits and excel. The “Find Your Greatness” film and campaign included a global YouTube homepage promotion. Along with their Twitter hashtag, #findgreatness, casual consumers and brand loyalists alike began to talk about how they found their own greatness. And of course, there was a television spot as well, which gained extreme popularity.

These are just a few of the brands that have cleverly utilized emotion in Olympic advertising to connect with their target audience. As the Olympics begin, we can expect them and other brands to premiere more campaigns that tug at our heart string and moves us in their call-to-action. In the meantime, let the games begin!

Viva Sua Paixão (Live Your Passion)