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Will Olympic Advertisers Ski Home with the Gold?

Will Olympic Advertisers Ski Home with the Gold?

We know that only about one in five advertisers accomplish brand objectives on the basis of a Super Bowl media buy. But what about an Olympics ad buy? Are the former Super Bowl advertisers who opted out of the Big Game to invest in the Olympics facing better odds? The smart money answer is yes. While buying on the Olympics is no more a guarantee of success than the Super Bowl is a guarantee of failure, an investment in the Olympics is far more likely to pay out in terms of increased purchasing and purchasing intentions. Why is this the case? 1.   The media exposure opportunity is quite different Start with the audience’s frame of mind. The Super Bowl is a divisive, partisan, and aggressive event that pits two American teams against each other. In contrast, the Olympics are inclusive, bringing Americans together to root for American athletes. Also, the event is not limited to an evening, but instead unfolds over many days. This enables Olympics advertisers to develop their brand stories through multiple exposures, often as a series of commercial executions. It is rare for consumers to be persuaded to change their attitudes and behaviors on the basis of a single commercial exposure – a limitation of Super Bowl buys. While it can help to expose consumers multiple times to the same commercial, the best way to change minds is through exposure to a series of two or more executions built off of a common campaign theme. The Olympics enable advertisers to take advantage of this dynamic, as very few advertisers buy multiple Super Bowl spots. 2. The ads that brands produce for the Olympics tend to be quite different than the commercials produced for the Super Bowl The party atmosphere of the Super Bowl seems to lead advertisers to use more over the top humor while the patriotic theme of the Olympics calls out for more inspirational stories. According to Ameritest, which has conducted extensive research on both Super Bowl and Olympics commercials, executions that are produced for the Olympics – as with Super Bowl ads – tend to be highly engaging and likeable. Additionally, Olympics ads can get so caught up in ‘soft-sell’ storytelling that the brand gets lost. However, as a campaign theme is developed across multiple executions, brand linkage often builds. By the end of the Olympics, the brand name – and thus the persuasive potential of the campaign – is often strengthened. A relatively small percentage of Super Bowl advertisers use their buy to launch a new campaign or to produce a spot that continues an existing campaign theme. In contrast, many Olympics...

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