The Best of the 2016 Olympic Advertising : Brazil Tops the FeelMore50 Medal Table

5 Aug

With its global audience, the Olympics provide one of the largest marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of consumers – therefore making it crucial for brands to bring their A-game to the advertising space. The Games are a great branding and advertising opportunity – but on the eve of the 2016 games, which advertisements have made the most of it?

We tested over 40 Olympic-themed adverts in markets across the world, ranking the Top 10, and looking for the ones that made audiences feel the most. Because if you feel more, you buy more, and the Olympics are no exception.

Of the ads we tested, the top three – gold, silver and bronze – all go to ads tested among Brazilian audiences. Excitement among Brazilian fans is high for the games, and these three global brands, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and P&G, have found ways of tapping that. What is the secret of their success?

Photo Credit: Célia Regina Satiko Nishio

Photo Credit: Célia Regina Satiko Nishio

Emotional ads help brands grow by building Fame (making brands come easily to mind), Feeling (creating positive feeling towards brands), and Fluency (building associations around unique brand assets). Large-scale studies of advertising effectiveness (The Long and the Short of It, IPA 2013) have shown emotional ad campaigns are far better predictors of long-term business effects than ads that adopt a persuasive, rational communication strategy. When people feel more, they buy more.

The medal winners use themes of happiness and togetherness and montages of Olympic Games images to drive Feeling. But each focuses on a different aspect using Universal Human Truths within the Olympics that go further than the games – strong enough to engage the triad “Consumers, Olympics & Brands”. In the top spot, McDonald’s demonstrates the beauty of the union of all people (and countries) through excited children. In the Silver position we have Coca-Cola, asking what winning gold feels like (pretty good, as it turns out). And in Bronze it’s the Brazilian mix of this year’s P&G “Thank You Mom” ad, showing how athletes’ mothers helped them rise above their fears.



We’re happy to say, that though Brazil swept the podium, the rest of our top 10 ads demonstrate the global range of the Olympics – ads from all around the world performed strongly. From the US, Gatorade and Nike prove you can take a light-hearted approach to creating Feeling. The top-rated European ad, from UK’s Channel 4, builds Fluency for Paralympic sport. China creates a classic Fame-building ad, for their ANTA sportswear brand. And Samsung’s commercial, clearly crossed international boundaries, as it performed very well among a Colombian audience despite no local connection; the ad told a powerful story of the first ever Olympic athlete from South Sudan and her journey to the Games.


Fame, Feeling & Fluency at the Games

Let’s remind ourselves just why the Olympics are such a big opportunity. It’s because the massive global audience is a great chance to build Fame, Feeling and Fluency – the 3Fs that drive profitable brand growth.

Fame is all about coming readily to mind – what better way to grow it than the biggest TV audience on the planet? Look at Chinese brand ANTA’s 4-Star “Go Surprise Yourself” ad – ANTA is a clothing brand trying to break out of the lower Tier cities into the biggest Chinese markets, and the ad’s theme of breaking through barriers and beating your personal best matches its Fame building ambition.

Feeling is about feeling good about a brand – and people love the Olympics. Most of these ads are explicitly about positive emotion – with heavy use of montages which tap into what makes people feel good about the Games themselves, human beings coming together and trying their best. Coke’s two ads in our Top 10 capture that concept perfectly.

And Fluency is about quick recognition that can speed the decision to choose a brand. The need for Fluency explains why Olympic sponsorship is so valuable – but it can also play out in commercials, which can help brands build the unique assets that make them recognisable. P&G’s “Thank You Mom” is an example – the “Proud Sponsor of Moms” slogan makes its return from the 2012 and 2014 Games, and is becoming one of the brand’s most distinctive assets. The campaign became the most successful campaign in P&G’s 175-year history, credited for more than $200m incremental US sales and record-breaking ROI.


FeelMore50™ uses BrainJuicer’s highly predictive Ad Testing methodology, ranking the ads on a 1 to 5-Star rating. The higher the rating, the more likely an ad is to create major long-term business effects. Using this same framework we’ve tested over 40 Olympic ads and are now presenting you the top 10 ads of the 2016 Olympic Games – giving insights into what it takes to create a 5-Star ad and sparking excitement for the kickoff of the 2016 Rio Olympics!

For the rest of the Top 10 and editorial on what made them great, (and plenty more top emotional ads), check out our 2016 Olympics page on our FeelMore50 site.


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