Commercial ad time at the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro was down almost 19% compared to the opening ceremony in London 2012. Despite this, viewers went to social media to complain.
According to social media tracking firm Networked Insights, of 81,000 consumer conversations online, 11% centered around complaints that the broadcast had too many commercials.
From 2012 to 2016 we’ve seen a decrease in the tolerance for invasive advertising. Over the same period, brands seem to have caught on, investing heavily in more precise ad targeting and cross-platform capabilities.
With millions across the world tuning into the Olympic games on various devices, brands and advertisers are thinking strategically about how best to accurately reach audience segments.
Canadian sports retailer Sport Chek has taken a novel approach to advertising during the Olympics by running a social-first video campaign titled #WhatItTakes: branded content that follows the Canadian athletes in Rio. The spots are first released through Sport Chek's social media channels, and then aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's prime-time broadcast of the Games each evening.
Each video creative is optimized across mobile platforms. The marketing team follows the Games daily and quickly turns over relevant content from various events, working from what has been dubbed the "war room" -- an editing suite at the CBC -- to create a new branded spot every day.
The campaigns are run by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, with Sport Chek pouring nearly 80% of its entire Rio 2016 ad budget into digital, and 60% going solely to mobile.
Coca-Cola has been developing similar content around the Olympics with its #ThatsGold campaign.
The mobile-first approach is being used in the publishing space as well. The New York Times has set up messaging services to keep its audience engaged throughout the Games.
Our tech-savvy world is moving beyond traditional TV advertising strategies. The Rio Games are showcasing these new initiatives, which are expected to become even more prevalent in the months and years to come.