Aug 30, 2012

How Sponsors Used Social Media During London 2012

For the duration of this blog series we have been discussing various digital concepts and campaign ideas that were strategically applied during this summer’s Olympics in London. By now the euphoria has settled and there is a global consensus that the games were an overwhelming success with organizers, sponsors and the media all getting a piece of the pie. The athletes were at the center of it all and tweeted their hearts out while interacting with fans worldwide. The games’ organizers have done the math and this year’s summer games proved efficient financially as well, generating a healthy spike in revenue for the economy of Great Britain.


But how does it all break down? More prudent to the commercial nature of the games, how did the businesses that stood to gain something out of such a high profile event perform? If you’ve been reading this series than you know exactly how we (in fact the companies themselves along with analysts, market research and consultant firms) would answer that question: by evaluating their respective social media impact of course!


All in all, McDonald’s, the games official “culinary” sponsor, leads the pack with a little under 160,000 mentions. All in just 17 total days of competition! The next three brands, Coca Cola, VISA and Samsung collected 44,177, 26,823 and 26,566 mentions and collectively don’t approach the golden arches. Food for thought: the most popular and mentioned sport was soccer and coincidentally the four aforementioned brands also have very broadly developed marketing campaigns involved with international soccer as well. This would imply a relationship between a specific sport and brand affiliation within the social media realm. Though the numbers work for Coke and McDonald’s, their suitability to sponsor an athletics showcase caused a lot of criticism by fans all over.


Samsung in particular, however, managed to get a fantastic social response, as polls showed after the Olympics. They negotiated a big role in the game’s opening ceremonies with their tablet PC’s being used during the performance. More importantly, Samsung supplied its Galaxy range of mobile phones and tablets to the organizers of the London-based summer games. The ceremonies and other organization of the games were pretty much fully managed through Samsung devices.


So how were these brands successful at utilizing social media? First, and as mentioned over and over again over the past month, social media stopped being about technology a long time ago. It truly is all about sociological and psychological factors that comprise the sum of the global cultural experience. Sounds deep, but it really isn’t. According to UK based market research firm Precise, “The public appears to need to believe that a brand is creating value through its sponsorship by…creating opportunities for the public to participate.”


It all always goes back to, you guessed it, content. No matter how big or small your campaign, regardless of its goals, if you do not have engaging content that incites your audience to interact, it’s worthless.