2016 Social Olympics: Smucker’s Jams in Lead up to Rio

For this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio, Networked Insights is using its advanced social analytics platform Kairos to learn which brands are getting the most bang for their sponsorship bucks by connecting with their target opportunity audiences, and how they’re doing it. Check back frequently as we chart progress throughout the games.

Let the Games (Soon) Begin

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio may not start until August 5th, but the Social Olympics are already well underway, with brands jockeying for a piece of the massive global conversation that’s soon to reach a fever pitch.

Networked Insights recently explored which international partners and which U.S. sponsors are enjoying the greatest increase in brand awareness in the 100 days leading up to the opening ceremonies, then we examined which of these brands can attribute this awareness specifically to their Olympic campaigns.[1]

At the top of both podiums (surprisingly): J.M. Smuckers, makers of jellies, peanut butters, and other food stuffs.



With the custom hashtag #PBJ4TeamUSA tied to a sweepstakes, and the promise of donating $1 to Team USA for every time the hashtag is used, Smucker’s has watched its brand mentions on social media increase more than 1,200% compared with a baseline period. Nearly 90% of consumer mentions of the brand include some reference to its Olympic sponsorship or the athletes the brand is supporting.

Sweepstakes-driven campaigns almost always drive social success, but marrying that concept with a donation to the athletes when consumers share the message has put an extra boost behind Smucker’s’ campaign.

Other smaller brands, like Chobani Greek Yogurt and Milk Life (America’s Milk Companies) are seeing double-digit increases in consumer conversation, with notable portions of the discussion attributed to their Olympics efforts.

The success of the smaller brands does not imply the big players have been out maneuvered. Proctor & Gamble, the leading advertiser on Ad Age’s Top 200 list, has enjoyed nearly double the brand awareness in the run-up to the Games. (However, P&G also essentially “owns” the Mother’s Day holiday on social media, which fell during the 100-day lead-in to the games, and a lot of their consumer engagement can be attributed there, as well.)


Dick’s Sporting Goods and Liberty Mutual, two more advertisers in Ad Age’s Top 200, are also witnessing increased consumer conversation overall – a lot of which can be attributed to their Olympics investment.

In addition to being a Team USA sponsor, Dick’s supports a host of U.S. Olympians, and these athletes elicit a great deal of fan interaction that trickles back to the brand.

Liberty Mutual has followed a similar strategy and also is benefiting from both athletes and specific U.S. teams tweeting at the sponsor about various Liberty Mutual live activations.

Some well-known brands suspiciously absent from the two rankings above: AT&T (Ad Age #2), Samsung (Ad Age #10), McDonald’s (Ad Age #28) Nike (Ad Age #29) and Coca-Cola (Ad Age #58). Undoubtedly all of these brands will kick off intense activations as the Games begin.

Coke is known to be dropping massive TV creative across more than 50 markets (with extensive digital support behind it), and it’s hard to imagine Samsung will be subtle, given that it is launching Samsung Pay-Brazil at the Games.

Additionally, we’d be surprised not to see something clever from Budweiser, which dominated social engagement at 2014’s World Cup.

We’ll be tracking the progress of sponsor brands throughout the Rio Games, providing additional briefs and analyses on the data above. Visit our Resources Center for the latest.

Rick Miller is Vice President, Customer Success at Networked Insights. He sets the analytic direction for client projects and ensures Networked Insights’ data and techniques provide the most relevant insights for the CMOs, brand managers, and consumer insights executives we support.

[1] Data pulled from April 27th – 100 days before the 2016 Games begin – until July 15th; 80 days’ of data in total.