The ten coolest Olympic brand activations

By By Amy Kellow | 6 July 2012

As the hugely-hyped Olympic Games fast approach our shores (and screens), George P. Johnson Australia's managing director, Peter Rix, gets his game on to give us his Top 10 Olympic activations. What's your favourite?

Brand: Coca-Cola (Worldwide Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'Move To The Beat'
Activations: Live performances at Torch relay events, ‘Beatbox’ pavilion at games village

The 'Move To The Beat' campaign is led by a global television spot showcasing producer Mark Ronson, singer Katy B and five international Olympic hopefuls. It is backed by a song that combines the sounds of the athletes' sports into a beat. On-site Olympic activations will take place in the form of live performances at torch relay events, and an onsite 'beatbox' pavilion at the Games Village.

Coca-Cola said in a statement that the ambition driving the campaign was to harness "teens' passion for music, and draw inspiration from London's musical heritage". The song will be released worldwide, and will see a 60-minute documentary capturing its production. The campaign also features global mobile and digital executions, as well as limited edition packaging. 

Rix: "Good so far. Some street credibility for Ronson and Katy B his collaborator. Innovative app. Test will be if track makes it into charts."

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Brand: Cadbury (London Olympic Supporter)
Campaign: 'Spots vs. Stripes'
Activations: Live sporting events

This campaign was designed to boost Britain's community spirit ahead of the Olympics, and invited viewers to compete in a series of online and real sporting events. They were asked to pick either the spots or stripes team, and could play games like 'table football', 'banana tennis' and 'custard cricket'. A national tally for each team was showcased online, and saw executions across television, print and social media.

Rix: "Strong community involvement in disadvantaged communities encouraging public to get more active. Excellent results to date in terms of participation and broader feedback from community."

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Brand: Lloyds TSB (London Olympic Partner)

Campaign: 'Get Closer To The Games'
Activations: Live documentation of the Olympic Relay with its 'Torchview' camera

Launching in 2011, the campaign aimed to help the public nominate locals to be torch bearers. It was supported by several of the bank's branches who are on the route of the Olympic relay, and invited people to vote for their community with the chance of winning a £5,000 donation. The campaign supported young athletes and sponsored the National School Sports week program.

Rix: "Looks well planned and executed. Strong ties to local branch network and support of children’s sport. Numerous local events putting local Lloyds staff in front of their community."


Brand: McDonalds (Worldwide Olympics Partner)
Campaigns: 'Open Farms', 'Feeding The Games', 'Champion Crew', 'Mascotathon'
Activations: Farm tours, on-site Games food supply served by a specially selected Mcdonald's crew, Children's sporting events

As part of McDonald's Olympics push, the fast food giant has led a series of activations and programs. The Open Farms program saw several McDonald's suppliers hold tours of their farms to educate people about the produce. The 'Feeding The Games' initative will see the brand serving as the official food for the spectators, media and athletes. The 'Champion Crew' aspect aims to keep up its staff morale, and is searching for over 1800 workers to serve customers in the Olympic Park. Finally, the 'Mascothathon' are a series of games encouraging kids to get active.

Rix: "Targeting kids to get active obvious response to child obesity criticisms. Farm visits a good way for customers to connect with food and overcome perception of poor produce. Using sponsorship to help allay negative perceptions."



Brand: BMW (London Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'The Ultimate Performance'
Activation: High quality interactive pavilion planned for the Games Village

BMW has been chosen as the official automotive partner for the upcoming Olympic and Paralymic Games, and used this campaign to highlight the fleet's environmentally-friendly aspects and new design features. It also saw the sponorship of several athletes, deeming them the 'BMW London 2012 Performance Team'.

Rix: "Understated campaign but firmly based around BMW values of good design, high tech and environmental credentials. Pavilion looks to be a major onsite draw card."


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Brand: British Airways (London Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'Great Britons', 'They Will Fly'.
Activations: Hands-on work with the public

This campaign was devised to drive patioritsm in the UK in the lead up to the Games, and searched for three locals to help the airline to design new artwork, in-flight menu and entertainment options. The entries had to use the Olympics as the inspiration behind their ideas, and once picked, were mentored by celebrities Heston Blumenthal, Tracy Emin and Richard E Grant, who are all supporting the initiative. 'They Will Fly' is part of the brand's broader Olympic push and highlights its sponsorship of differing athletes. 

Rix: "Great Britons was public call out for talent in UK, supported by follow up offering free flights for other Britons who can create content or have ideas for BA use. Patriotic campaign to drive brand love at home."

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Brand: BP (London Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'Fueling The Future'
Activation: Hosting hundreds of Olympic-themed art, cultural, educational and sporting events throughout 2012

BP's broader Olympic campaign is centered around its sponsored athletes and also has a 'Carbon Offset' not-for-profit campaign for travellers going to the Games. They can pay to offset their transport emissions, with the money that money going directly to projects that prevent or remove C02 emissions.

Rix: "Interesting choice to sponsor Cultural Olympiad as the ‘thinking person’s fuel supplier’. A good fit as they continue to reposition themselves as the environmentally aware oil company."

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Brand: Cisco (London Olympic Supporter)
Campaign: 'Work. Learn. Live. Play'
Activation: Cisco House

Cisco's Olympic push has seen a large focus on technology and innovation, hoping to "illustrate transformational opportunities for countries, cities and organisations." The campaign has been covered extensively online. The brand has also set up 'Cisco House' which is a space that invites the public to interact with multimedia walk-through experiences.

Rix: "The one true B2B sponsor in list Cisco has traditionally used onsite pavilion to highlight their technology and same this time with a large, technology laden space. Website has deep information especially for SMBs. $500m committed to foster innovation in UK."

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Brand: Adidas (London Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'Taking The Stage'
Activation: Events featuring celebrities and competition winners

This campaign was driven mainly by online executions, and offered aspiring young althletes the chance to "take the stage" with sports stars and Adidas ambassadors including David Beckham. Entrants had to apply via video with the winners chosen by the number of votes. Adidas will showcase the winners interacting with the celebrities through a number of activations and events.

Rix: "Significant number of entries to competition but looks to have some issues with website and voting. Battling negative press about sweat shop conditions in factories and smart SM campaign by Nike but good activation concept overall."

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Brand: Panasonic (Worldwide Olympic Partner)
Campaign: 'Sharing The Passion'
Activation: Sporting events to trial equipment, Winning films to be broadcast during the Games, workshops for young film makers

Panasonic, as the official broadcast equipment provider for the Olympics and first live 3D broadcaster, chose to make film the main focus of its campaign. Young people were encouraged to create films based on Olympic ideals and were judged by top UK film makers. The winning entries will be shown at key events during the Olympics. The brand is also holding over 2000 workshops where young film makers get to meet famous producers and experiment with the top Panasonic gear.

Rix: "First widespread use of 3D transmissions to push their domestic AV gear [...] Promoting pro gear to young film makers is smart as future film makers build their brand loyalty."

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