Smaller Brands on a Roll in 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.

With the second full weekend of the Rio Olympics in the books – a thrilling two days that saw a bittersweet cap to Michael Phelps’ swimming career and two electrifying performances on the track (Usain Bolt’s 100-meter three-peat and Wayde van Niekerk’s stunning 400-meter world record), Olympic sponsors have had 10 days to ingrain themselves in the minds of an adoring public. So who has the lead?

There have been a few changes since our initial look at how brand sponsors were leveraging their Olympic relationship in the run-up to the Games – and a few unexpected constants.


Smucker’s continues to extend its Olympics campaign through social media channels with great success. Its #PBJ4TeamUSA promotion is still earning nearly 10x the brand awareness among consumers that Smucker’s typically enjoys, and 85% of all conversation about the brand is tied to its Olympics campaign.

Another brand enjoying a tremendous lift in social media conversations is 24-Hour Fitness – but in a twist, although roughly half of all conversation about the brand in the three months prior to Rio stemmed from its Olympics campaign, now that the games are underway, only about one-quarter of 24-Hour Fitness chatter is about its Olympics creative. It appears the brand, which had been relatively quiet on social channels throughout 2015, used its pre-Olympics campaign to kickoff much broader engagement with its customer base.


Liberty Mutual continues to extend the success of its Olympic campaign; in the pre-Olympics period, the insurer was already enjoying a 62% lift in conversation, with a fraction of that due to its pre-Games work. But with the Games underway and its TV spot featuring Kayla Harrison in heavy rotation, consumers are enthusiastically retweeting links to the spot and other congratulatory messages toward the athletes on Liberty Mutual’s roster.

Perhaps the biggest surprises involve some of the ad industry’s biggest names. Coca Cola’s #thatsgold campaign and Nike, with its seemingly endless roster of sponsored athletes and prominent product placements on the medal podiums, are actually experiencing decreases in brand lift thus far during the Games (-14% and -11% lift, respectively).

Only 9% of consumer conversations about Coke and 5% of conversations about Nike are associating the brands with the Games during the first 10 days of competition. And Budweiser, which usually makes the most of live sports activations, is faring no better – with a 39% decrease in conversation overall and only 3% of consumer conversations directly tied to its Olympic creative or the athletes it is supporting. Given Bud’s heavy investment, this is likely somewhat frustrating for the iconic brewer.