In 2012, the olympic games generated 150 million tweets over the course of 16 days. Fast forward four years and internet social following has increased and evolved. During a marathon of Olympic competitions this summer, we all find ourselves becoming social spectators by sharing our reactions online. However, there is a group of voyeurs watching the chat unfold, with pupils that can siphon paraffin out of the Olympic torch, in the blink of an eye.

So who are the these ‘voyeurs’ we’re so quick to acknowledge? We’re talking about the non Olympic sponsors and their dexterous marketing teams who are frantically typing away about Rio. The Olympics really is a time to scramble for the social spotlight. Digital media opens up an olympic arena for brands to showcase their storytelling and services.

“Brands must mobilise their social team and make sure they’re prepared for any sporting occurrence.”

So what is the best possible social solution for a brand who is not an official sponsor, yet wants to effectively join the online conversation?

Olympic content success is hinged on a number of factors;


Currently, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are restricting brands from repurposing logos and imagery, Rio related expressions and finally athletes from using their performance as an advertising advantage.

Unless you’re a worldwide Olympic partner like Coca-Cola or Mc Donald’s (totally healthy and sports appropriate) then you’ll be forbidden to share results, branded pictures and re-posts. The best approach is to create assets that subtly hint at the moments of the games.

Brands must mobilise their social team and make sure they’re prepared for any sporting occurrence. This will ultimately ensure that you’re involved in a current issue and perhaps the first brand to make noise about the olympic moment. Marketing in real time is a risky business but brands have secured impressive results through their innovation and bravery.

Take note from Burger King and their auspicious “Everyone keeps their crown” tweet that was created during the Miss Universe pageant in 2015. Their witty response to the host announcing the wrong winner was the most well received social posts of the event itself.

Currently, P&G brand Always are adapting their #LikeAGirl campaign which continues to comment on the performance of women in real time. They update a simple asset and avoid naming specific athletes by tweeting things like, ‘She did it again! Swim #LikeAGirl.’

Whatever platform you use, make sure you’re quick to the mark and can win gold for your efforts!

“The reach and visibility of a company, is perhaps one of the most competitive aspects about the games, aside from the Olympians themselves.”


Cue Nike, who are currently including a raft of local experiences in Rio, some of which are linked up with their running clubs and their Nike + training app. Their strategy tends to lend itself to educating through expert knowledge.

Merging physical and digital marketing further amplifies your brands chances of being heard. Brands should go one step further and invite local and international influencers to document their hospitality on social media platforms.

Your social posts are far more credible if you’re there, or if you’re not a sponsor then have a representative cover the games on your behalf.


If your brand is sports related with a reasonable following, then be inspired by sponsor P&G’s #ThankYouMum campaign. This originates from London’s 2012 Olympics where it received award winning recognition. 2016 has seen them go one step further and create separate social handles for the campaign and release features on athletes stories.

In 2016, Rio is enabling the P&G hashtag to grow on a global scale, gaining around 4M impressions a week. The content is emotive and encourages positive sentiment.


Acknowledge your country’s team hashtag and shout out your support. American online producers Fine Brothers have been developing content to appeal to younger demographics. They continue to remain associated with the U.S team and have managed to become Olympic influencers in their own right. Congratulate and unite!

Just like the Olympics, if you work hard and suss out the competition, you’ll be able to strike social gold.