In a survey conducted from August 14-17, TNS Media Intelligence noted during the first week of viewing: "Unaided brand awareness for ads seemed surprisingly low with over 52% of Olympic viewers surveyed unable to recall any brands advertised during Olympic programming."
Only Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa were standouts for viewers in terms of commercial recall, with many other Olympic marketers way down the list.
For example, in a study by TNS Custom, Coke had an unaided recall of 21% for Olympic viewers, a 33% recall score for those very interested in the Olympics, and a 9% recall for those with little or no interest in the Olympics.
Next up was McDonald's, with a 15% number for unaided recall of Olympic viewers, a 21% number for those very interested in the Olympics, and a 7% score for those with little interest. Visa's number posted an 11% unaided recall of Olympic viewers, 17% for those very interested in the games, and 4% for those with little interest.
TNS notes that these three companies far outstripped other brands. A long way behind were Budweiser, Nike, Chevrolet, Home Depot, GE and United Airlines.
TNS said recall was highly dependent on the level of interest in the Olympics--that 32% of people surveyed were highly interested in the games, while 37% had little or no interest in the Olympics. TNS, through its TNS Cymfony group, also looked at social media and online discussion groups, specifically focusing on the big top six Olympic advertisers: AT&T, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Lenovo, McDonald's and Visa. McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Visa were by far the most-discussed brands, with all three experiencing above-average levels of discussion.
McDonald's and Lenovo tied in the favorability department, with both marketers reaching a leading 145 favorability index during the games. Lenovo rose strongly from its low 64 index number in June.
McDonald's stayed flat during the game, yet its favorability ratings were on par with other sponsors. Visa dropped slightly during the games to a 115 index. Coca-Cola dropped more significantly, although it still remained above the average for all the sponsors, with an index of 98. Bank of America and AT&T fell in behind this group.
As for specific Internet traffic, TNS said that among Olympic marketers' sites, Visa's Go World site has seen a 437% increase in traffic, while Lenovo's Olympic sites had a 59% gain.