Did Brands Earn High Marks For Their Olympic Influencer Campaigns?

There are few events like the Olympics that draw international fanfare and eyes from all parts of the globe. For brands that planned ahead, it was a goldmine opportunity to reach and engage their prospects, and in particular, the millennial consumer. 

To reach this younger, discerning demographic during the Games, brands turned to one of the newest and most persuasive arrows in their quiver — influencer marketing. They enlisted influencers with large followings on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and other mobile-friendly social channels to help tell their stories and attract higher-quality customers.  

We saw influencer campaigns from both expected and unexpected brands, and some achieved greater success than others. Let’s see which deserve medals for their efforts. 

NBC, the official U.S. broadcaster of the Olympics, was one of the most conspicuous brands to funnel large chunks of their ad budget into various influencer marketing campaigns. One part of their strategy involved tapping into social megastars such as Logan Paul, the Fine Brothers and Flula, and have them create original content showing behind-the-scenes moments, scores and commentary. The obvious goal here was to create relationships with millennials and turn them into a new generation of Olympic followers. The network also held a “Social Media Opening Ceremony,” a Ryan Seacrest-hosted event that brought together former Olympians and current social hotshots who streamed, documented and shared the Olympic fanfare with their followers. 



NBC won because they found ways to incorporate their narrative into the stories of influencers who viewers were already following with enthusiasm. They were also smart about choosing their influencers to tell their story, which is one of the make-or-break components of any campaign. 

Beauty and fashion was, at least at first blush, a less-obvious industry that was all over the Olympics. Those that ran campaigns obviously paid attention to the stats showing most Olympic athletes are millennials, with an average age of 27, and more women than men watch the competitions. We saw this group activate athletes-as-influencers in their strategies.  

In a perfectly tailored hashtag, Gillette partnered with gymnast Gabby Douglas to show how the Venus razor has #MovesLikeNoOther. Fellow Team USA gymnast Aly Raisman regularly Instagrammed about Aeropostale’s new line of stretch denim & shorts, a natural fit for a gymnast on the move. Another Olympian known for her on-the-track glam, Natasha Hastings, touted Sweat Cosmetics, a line made to stay in place when you’re staying active. 

These beauty and fashion brands achieved gold-medal results by finding influencers who, yes, were Olympians, but also who naturally fit into their existing positioning. 

It might be too late to execute an influencer marketing campaign for the 2016 Games, but you can start creatively thinking about how to apply similar strategies to your next product launch, store opening, concert or other Olympic-caliber live event.

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