Social media focus at Olympics

2012-04-19 08:45
San Francisco - Advertisers are going for Facebook as athletes go for the gold, in the first Olympic Games where marketers are placing such high hopes on social media to create a buzz for their brands.

With the London summer Olympics just 100 days away, advertisers hope that social media will do much of the heavy lifting in raising brand profiles, by getting consumers to chat about promotions online.

Big consumer brands have long seen the Olympic Games as a way to get more consumers to buy their products. This year, several are thinking of them as a way to talk up their brands on Facebook - which of course could lead to even more purchases.

The games run from July 27 to August 12 this year.

"Back in 2008, it was very much about paid media," said Mark Renshaw, chief innovation officer at Leo Burnett, a unit of No 3 advertising agency Publicis, referring to the last summer Olympics.

"Now the reason they want to have a relationship [with consumers] is to generate shared media."

Elaborate campaigns

That's in part because of the sheer amount of time people are spending on social media. By the end of 2011, some 794 million people visited Facebook each month, and each spent an average of 377 minutes - more than 6 hours - on the site, according to comScore Inc.

In 2008, Facebook had just 145 million users. Online marketing then focused on building websites, Renshaw said. Today, brands are building elaborate campaigns partly designed to create a buzz on Facebook and other social media sites such as Pinterest and Twitter.

Take Samsung Electronics, which recently launched its US Olympic Genome Project. It uses a game called How Olympic Are You? to establish people's connections to the Olympics, such as finding athletes from their hometowns, or athletes who like the same music or movies they do.

It gathers the information by tying in to a user's Facebook page, but it can also work alone for users who aren't on Facebook or don't want to link to it.

The game dangles prizes such as discounted electronics and a trip to the Olympics to keep consumers coming back; whenever consumers complete an activity, such as a quiz on Olympic trivia, they are invited to post results to their Facebook page.

Facebook "is where consumers are", said Ralph Santana, chief marketing officer of Samsung. "If you can figure out how to build communities around your brand, it's really powerful."

Consumers are spending about eight minutes per visit, on average, on the How Olympic Are You? site, Santana said. That is about double the time they spend on ordinary Samsung sites.


Social media "drives us toward content that is able to provoke consumer conversation", said James Eadie, Olympic portfolio director for Coca-Cola Co. "That drives longevity."

Coke's Olympic gambit is its "Move to the Beat" campaign based on a song created by DJ Mark Ronson and singer Katy B. Fans can collect beat fragments on Facebook and edit a version of the song for their own page.

Procter & Gamble this week unveiled its Thank You Mom advertisement showing mothers around the world raising Olympic athletes.

Marc Pritchard, P&G's global marketing and brand building officer, is hoping online viewers will "like" the video on Facebook and drive traffic to its own Facebook pages for brands like Tide detergent, Pampers diapers, Oil of Olay moisturisers, and Cover Girl cosmetics.

"What we want to try to do is get a 10% lift on our Facebook brand pages," he said, meaning P&G hopes to add five million to its fan base of 50 million over the next few months. "That would be a lot quicker than we normally do."

Most brands are developing ways to calculate what each click of the "like" or "share" button is worth, Renshaw said, based on factors such as how many people saw it, engaged with it, and the total spent on a particular campaign.

None of the brand representatives interviewed for this article would provide advertising spending estimates for their Olympic campaigns. But ad executives said a comprehensive multimedia Olympic campaign might cost anywhere from $30m to $50m.

The price tag is worth it, brand executives said, because they believe they can weave tighter connections between their brands and target customers during the Olympics compared to other events.

P&G's Pritchard said recalls of messages after the company's Vancouver 2010 Olympics television campaign was 30% more than for its regular campaigns.
Read more on:    social media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.