The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When [Olympic] Advertising Goes Wrong …
August 25, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Crap Campaigns In History, Marketing, Marketing Fail | Tags:

After last weeks accidental – and incredibly rare – occasion of writing a post at the optimum time for it to appear, I thought I should get back to being ‘topically late’ with my ranting.

Fortunately I did it without realising because as I was scanning through my pre-written posts, I found I’d written this one about the Olympics to appear after the Olympics.

Now that’s a talent. So with that brief intro over, here’s what I wrote …

It’s the Olympics … a time where the world is reminded about the magnificence of sport.

It’s also a time where brands – both official and unofficial – jump on the bandwagon and claim they have an integral role either in athletics or the amplification of it.

Sadly, most fail.

Now this is not going to be a big rant about how Wieden does it better than most.

However what I will say is that the reason we have helped NIKE and P&G be at the forefront of Olympic advertising is because we haven’t actually approached it in terms of advertising, but in terms of truth.

The truth of what the brand stands for.

The truth of what the brand can genuinely claim it contributes to the Olympics.

The truth about what an athlete experiences or feels or goes through on their journey.

In other words, nothing fake, contrived or blatantly untrue.

Like paying money to be ‘the official cheese of the Olympics’ … or some other rubbish.

That’s why we helped P&G be the proud sponsor of Mum’s [sorry, Mom’s] … because their role in raising Olympian’s is true [and P&G has a real connection to them] whereas claiming an FMCG product had directly and significantly contributed to an athletes success, wasn’t.

[A case study of our last Olympic campaign – Greatness – can be seen here]

It’s not rocket science and yet, when I see ads like the one above – from an official Olympic sponsor no less – it appears that maybe it is.

23 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Slightly corporate toady tone here remedy this please
Good point in any case

Comment by Northern


Comment by DH

dont know why hes being a corporate fucking smug wanker. the nike and pg shit wasnt up to much this time. better than the other bollocks but thats like saying susan boyle is better looking than a tub of shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s a bit harsh. The work for 2012 was better but this is still good. I didn’t like all the work but the transgender and old lady spots were great and I liked the shift in tone. It wasn’t a “greatness”, but it was still something to be proud of.

Comment by George

Thanks Andy. Always useful advice.

Comment by Rob

you fucking know it.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know. I’m kind of ashamed of myself. Even more than usual. Sorry.

Comment by Rob

Are the cameras taking photos for the government so they can remember which athletes failed so GB could win more medals than China?

Comment by DH

I find myself in the uncomfortable situation of not being able to disagree with this post.

Comment by John

Though I guess the point is that the Olympics aren’t really that relevant. They just happen to be the event of the moment, so highlighting your clients’ role in facilitating sporting excellence rather than Olympic success per se makes for good and longer-lasting marketing impact.

Comment by John

I will keep this comment forever John.

Comment by Rob

Why is the runner falling apart at his shoulder? Is it because he’s a cheating cyborg designed to look like an athlete so China can win a gold medal?

Comment by DH

No he’s angry that the British taxpayer invested £4million for every medal won, that a lot of that went into developing technology that made the playing field unequal (and unOlympian), and that there’ll be negligble legacy effect in terms of UK grass-roots sports because there’s no mpney left for them.

Comment by John

Can’t be, if it was, Rob would have bought it rather than criticized it.

Comment by Bazza

anyone else notice theres no other fucking athletes in the shitty art student painting? is that how china wins these days, be the only fucker in the race.

Comment by andy@cynic

Bet the swimmer used his selfie stick to bash the others to death.

Comment by Billy Whizz

If they were trying to look like their brand was futuristic, they failed. Like the athletes.

Comment by George

Seriously Rob, what are they trying to say with this work? I was under the impression cameras have been at the Olympics for quite a while.

Comment by George

You’ve not been to China have you?

Comment by DH

They’re saying “we’re an Olympic sponsor”. That’s all it’s saying. In the past that would have been enough – especially with China’s success – but maybe now they realise their campaign changes the tone from ‘capturing their athletes success at the point of glory’ to ‘making mug shots of the athletes that need to be sent to purgatory’.

That said, I think this Olympics was actually really good for China. This was a transitional games – and helping set up the athletes with experience for the games they absolutely, wholeheartedly want to – and need to – dominate. Japan.

In the 90’s we did a NIKE campaign equating sports with war. You’ll see just how true that was in just 4 years time.

Comment by Rob

Are you saying China will use the 2020 Olympics to get revenge for Japan’s actions during their war? That is fascinating.

Comment by George

and if they dont win theyll nuke the fuckers. great. just fucking great.

Comment by andy@cynic

Basically George … that’s exactly what I’m saying.

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply