Advertising for Gold

Advertising for Gold

Aug 30 2016 | by EMILY BURGOINE

The 2016 Olympics may have drawn to a close but public emotions are running high after Team GB’s best ever performance, leaving them second in the medal table. Personally I feel a real sense of pride in little old Britain’s achievements during those two weeks in Rio, and it was great to see so much positivity and determination across the media, rather than the pain and suffering of those less fortunate than us that normally dominates the headlines.

But as well as generating a sense of unity and a celebration of sporting activities, the Olympics are big for business, with brands spending huge amounts of money to create adverts to run in prime time coverage slots. Here’s a few of my favourite Olympic themed ads from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.


1. P&G - Thank you, Mom. Strong

Following on from their hugely successful 2012 ‘Best Job’ film, P&G raised the stakes for 2016 with their new offering, ‘Strong’. The film follows the journey of four mothers and their children, showing the moments when a mother’s strength and support helps the children through times of stress and trauma. The advert builds up to the moment when each child summons their own courage on the world’s biggest sporting stage - the Olympic Games. Released 100 days before the opening of the 2016 Olympics, and rather poignantly, just before Mother’s Day, this highly emotive advert (which certainly had me reaching for the tissues) reminds us that it’s not just about the athletes, the families and friends who support them on their journey play an invaluable role in shaping them into the people they are today.


2. Gillette - Perfect Isn’t Pretty

Featuring athletes including Brazilian footballer Neymar, and British cyclist Andy Tennant, Gillette provides a glimpse into the darker side of training for the Olympics. The advert shows the athletes dramatically pushing through both physical and emotional pain, and depicts some of the many challenges they face, like balancing their personal lives with training and living up to the high expectations expected of them. They strive for perfection, but the pain, the sacrifices and the anguish they face on the journey there is anything but. With bold and powerful cinematography, this advert had me hooked throughout. The advert ends by tying the message back to the brand’s familiar tagline with ‘The Best A Man Can Get Isn’t Always Pretty, But Always Worth The Chase’, as American decathlete Ashton Eaton is seen outrunning an angry looking dog.


3. Aldi - Championing Great Britain

The Olympics is traditionally backed by large ‘junk’ food companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Kellogg’s, showcasing their generally rather unhealthy food and drink stuffs in their adverts. In 2015, German-owned discount food grocer Aldi became the first supermarket to sponsor Team GB, and bucking the trend they began highlighting fresh, local fruit and vegetables. As someone who is passionate about healthy living, and very wary of how my children perceive these products that are practically force fed to them by these big ‘convenience food’ brands, I am very pleased to see this shift in focus. The retailer has extended its sponsorship from Rio 2016 up to Tokyo 2020, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come over the next few years, with healthier food and drinks receiving more of the limelight.


4. Nike - Unlimited Future

In Nike’s advert that was released ahead of the Olympics, actor Bobby Cannavale gives baby athletes a few words of advice. As a fun take on a traditional locker room speech, Cannavale is seen entering a nursery room, where baby versions of athletes including Mo Farah, Serena Williams and Neymar Jr lie in cots. He then tells them that basically life is unfair, you don’t get a say in how it begins, but you do get to decide your future, just before the brand message ‘Just Do It’ appears. Nike took a different approach this time compared with previous ads, but in my opinion they strike gold with this one by combining just the right amount of cuteness and humour.

And finally, in honour of the 2016 Paralympics which begin in a few weeks time...


5. Channel 4 - We’re the Superhumans

After the success of Channel 4’s 2012 advert, ‘Meet the Superhumans’, a 90-second trailer showing various members of the GB Paralympic team in action, the broadcaster has gone in a completely different direction for their 2016 campaign. ‘We’re the Superhumans’ is essentially a musical about how disability shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals, both in sport and beyond. The advert features 120 people with disabilities including members of the public alongside Paralympic athletes showcasing their skills and talents. The soundtrack of Sammy Davis Jr’s triumphant ‘Yes I Can’ is recorded by a band of disabled musicians who also feature in the advert. Showcasing a ton of extraordinary talents and wow moments, this advert is a heartwarming celebration of positivity and achievement.



Emily Burgoine

Advertising for Gold