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What brand marketers can learn from the Olympics

What brand marketers can learn from the Olympics Lori Goldberg

With this summer's Olympics closed, we've watched records be set and broken, new talent emerge, and of course names like "Simone" brought into our living rooms. And like every Olympic year, we've seen advertisers and brands clamoring for a chance to display innovation and strategic thinking in the faces of billions of viewers from around the world.

Brand marketers stand to learn important new strategies from advertisers at the Olympics, and here are a few of my favorites. The following examples showcase brand marketers using each digital medium at its finest to get their messages across and create meaningful connections with their audiences.

Drive engagement with Dove's "My Beauty My Say"
In the past several years we've seen brands like Always (Like a Girl), Hello Flo (First Moon Party), and Bud Light (Equal Pay) challenging gender stereotypes in their advertising.

The Olympics are no exception to this growing consciousness, with Dove's recent launch of "My Beauty My Say" campaign. This video spot calls out media and coverage of the Olympics that inappropriately focuses more on a female athlete's appearance than her performance.

The video features female Olympians, along with reportage from prominent pop culture and news outlets with statements such as, "Built like a fire hydrant," and "Frizzy hair."

What I want to point out with this campaign was the fully interactive website at aimed bolstering engagement. The site includes direct quotes from media outlets (such as "Do Nip Slips Earn Athletes Points or Deductions" - Cosmopolitan), as well as statistics about the state of media coverage among female athletes (e.g., "Since 4/1/16, we've been exposed to comments about a female athlete's appearance over 278.3 million times").

In response to the mounting evidence, Dove asks viewers to speak directly back to media outlets. The site features built in engagement via social media prompts, allowing respondents to tweet back at the media outlet and voice their dissatisfaction with their coverage.

The campaign is a great example of a brand using digital to fully take advantage of opportunities to provide interactivity between consumers and the brand. Essentially, they are creating a two-way dialogue in a very personalized way. This, coupled with the campaign's pairing of causes that their end consumers care deeply about (empowering females) provides a "one-two punch" of digital advertising.

Focus on mobile and Facebook Video with Sport Chek's "#whatittakes"
Most digital media leaders will take note of this Canadian brand's surprising message: instead of focusing on the successes of the Olympics, this campaign begins with the bold statement of "We hope defeat is in your cards." The video offers a compilation of Olympic failure moments: runners stumbling, gymnasts crashing off the vault, and piles of cyclist crashing.

Midway through, the tone of the video spot changes, stating, "We wish this misery upon you because it gives birth to brilliance." The video closes with the brand's message of having #whatittakes.

What I would like to focus on here is less about the different point of view in the messaging (which was gripping, by the way), and more on the choices made in terms of device and platform ad buying. TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York chose to focus the campaign 100 percent on mobile and video on Facebook, a notable play in today's environment, which leverages video to the best of its abilities to share a brand's message.

Research from Google indicates that the growth of mobile has shifted most consumers' purchasing behaviors to be based on a series of micro-decisions. For example, 82 percent of consumers check their phones before making a purchase in a store.

In today's environment, brands have to focus their digital efforts on being ever present. In order to create effective campaigns, brands need to assess where their consumers spend the most time pre-purchase. Paying special attention to this pre-purchase journey can help inform digital buying decisions, such as Sport Chek's heavy focus on mobile.

In addition, I'd like to note that Facebook advertising should not be overlooked as a strategic part of any digital buy as the interplay between social and digital are blurring. In 2015 Facebook alone accounted for a quarter (25.2 percent) of digital display ad revenues. With cross-device targeting, smart advertisers can now reach the consumer through their journey no matter what device they are using or what platform they are viewing.

Digital brand experience with Bridgestone Performance
This ad spot , created by Publicis, marks the company's first games as a Worldwide Olympic Partner. The campaign ran on NBC in the U.S., and Sports TV in Brazil, debuting in the opening ceremonies.

The campaign drives consumers to a digital brand experience, The Bridgestone Performance Institute. On this platform, Bridgestone allows consumers to engage with "real stories behind Olympic Athletes" and analyze similarities between top-performing athletes and top-performing tires.

What I want to focus on here is Bridgestone's Olympic Pre-Trials, a gamification play where consumers can download a game from the Apple Store or Google Play and "test their own performance" by competing within various Olympic sports (swimming, gymnastics, track, etc). Players can challenge their friends on a global leaderboard, unlocking new players as they progress.

U.S. mobile gaming is up by 9.6 percent to the tune of 180.4 million users, according to eMarketer. With nearly 56 percent of the entire U.S. population playing games on their phones at least once a month, brand marketers can take advantage and provide consumers with an integrated brand experience that encourages deeper engagement, shareability, and friendly competition amongst friends.

Lori Goldberg is CEO of Silverlight Digital, a New York-based digital media agency. Goldberg leads a hands-on team in developing digital advertising strategies for national and local brands, including Meda Pharmaceuticals, Aetrex Footwear,...

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