As we wrap up the Rio Games, it’s safe to say that the advertising we’ve been enjoying during these games has been some of the best of any sporting event…ever. We’ve seen ads with “celebrity athletes” we barely know, sharing their dreams. We’ve watched people who excel in sports we’d never normally watch, and been humbled by their sacrifices. We’ve watched Paralympic athletes overcome adversity that would have crippled—mentally and physically—lesser men and women.
In short, we’ve been able to learn more about these athletic heroes, through advertising that was quite simply beautiful. We’re not just talking shoe companies and athletic wear, either. From orange juice and candy bars to banks and credit cards, every brand seems to have embraced the spirit of the Olympics. And that is where the difference lies. So here are our top 5 reasons why Olympic ads trump Super Bowl ads:
1. They’re Authentic.
Let’s face it, most advertising has little to do with reality. Olympic advertising, however, seems to take authenticity to a whole new level. Each ad tries to capture a real human connection. It seems to truly tell a story rather than fabricate one.
2. They’re Germane.
Super Bowl advertising typically has very little to do with the sport of football. The Olympics seem to bring out the best in advertisers, as they seek to bring relevance to every sport, from badminton to mountain biking. The sport itself is often the focus, rather than the context.
3. Everyone is a Superstar.
Super Bowl ads often focus on the quarterback, or the most outspoken player on the team. The Olympics help us relate to the obscure athlete participating in an even more obscure sport. So cheers to the synchronized swimmers who steal the show in a Visa ad, even more than Michael Phelps, who, we must admit, stole the show in more than one spot. But what makes the Olympics even more inspiring is that the viewers want to learn about the folks who maybe play a sport they’ve never heard of, as much as the bleached hair celebrity athlete.
4. Two Weeks > Thirty Seconds.
The Olympics offer a unique opportunity to build a narrative that thirty seconds during a drunken Sunday night in February never can. Advertisers have the unique ability to frame a discussion, rather than just attempt to interrupt four quarters of over-hyped concussion-inducing collisions.
5. Storytelling > Shock Value.
When you are dumping an entire marketing budget into one thirty-second spot during one game, you have an absolute mandate to deliver eyeballs. We are subjected to shock value ads from GoDaddy or Carl’s Jr., with the only goal of offending and garnering social media shares. These past two weeks showed us the value of storytelling in an era of shock media. There are so many stories of sacrifice and commitment that transcend sports. Cheers to the brands who have recognized this, and embraced the unique stories of these amazing athletes.
So here are our top spots from the last two weeks. Enjoy.