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Olympic sponsor brands on social media emerge victorious (and start hiring athletes)

#ThatsGold - Ashton and Alex
We’re in the closing week of the Rio Olympics. As such a head count seems appropriate.
Things aren’t going too badly. Not too badly at all, in fact. Team GB currently sits in second place overall, behind the U.S.A. but other than that at the top of the league table. And there are also plenty of other victors aside from our athletes, with the formal sponsor brands unsurprisingly reaping some serious rewards for their investment.
Of the brands on social media with Olympic sponsorship deals, a report in Adweek yesterday suggested there had been more than 80,000 online mentions up until 15th August. Coca Cola leads the marathon, followed by Samsung, Bridgestone, Visa, and McDonalds. Outside the top five, companies like Omega, P&G, and Toyota are also well represented.
Coca Cola’s dominance doesn’t end there, either. Looking to the sliding scale of branded hashtags, the drink giant’s #thatsgold is ahead of the pack, although #Quemseatreve might be everyone’s knew favourite (it’s certainly ours)- Nissan’s homage to the Portuguese phrase ‘quem se atreve‘, meaning ‘who dares’. Of the nations making the most comments containing references to the Games and/or said hashtags, the U.S.A. is by far the most vocal, Brazil next, with the U.K. in third.
So far the Olympics themselves haven’t fared quite so well, although this is no summer mirror image of Sochi. The Swimming Pool Turning Green Fiasco resulted in headlines questioning the ability for a Brazilian metropolis to pull off the tournament, then there’s the ongoing boxing scandal, with furore centred on three fighters losing as a result of apparent ‘shocking judgements’. And we have criticism fired at the presentation of the Games, too, along with the gender bias evident in the coverage. None of which is ideal really.
Nevertheless, we’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely, with everything from cycling to hockey and distance running proving to be just as exciting as we’d hoped. If not more. The Smoking Gun office isn’t the only place to have succumbed to the fever, either. Visa and audit and professional services giant EY are now looking to hire Olympians once they have served the stadia. As per Bloomberg, the brands deny this is a marketing stunt and point to the difficulties athletes have in moving into more traditional jobs when the need arises. This is particularly problematic for women.
It’s certainly a noble cause, albeit the number of positions that will be filled appears to be pretty small compared with the 11,551 people actually taking part. Still, don’t knock it. There are also other similar initiatives, the International Olympic Committee and Adecco have a scheme that has been in place for some time, and that’s just one, although it’s also worth noting that Home Depot’s attempts to do a similar thing didn’t work out, finishing in 2009. Digressions aside, the EY and Visa examples show how brands can act in a manner that’s genuinely positive for society, and garner the rewards of improved public image, not to mention effectively free PR. In doing so they may well have won the overall war considering the marketing-worthy content initiatives like this can produce over years.

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