How Olympic Sponsors Are Promoting the London Games Digitally

By Jenny Berg & Anna Sekula July 13, 2012, 2:52 PM EDT

Coca-Cola's "Global Beat" online community is an aggregation of tunes created by consumers through an app.

Brands affiliated with the London Olympics are finding plenty of ways to share the games' global spotlight. And while most of the major sponsors will have eye-catching activations on and around Olympic Park, they aren’t waiting until July 27 to begin capturing fans’ attention—and they aren’t limiting their activations to the physical realm. From a music video game to an emotional, Web-based tribute to moms, here’s a look at what major Olympic sponsors are doing to trump their partnerships in the digital sphere.

Earlier this week the network announced a partnership with Facebook that leverages NBC's content as the official U.S. broadcast partner of the games and the social network's consumer reach. The NBC Olympics Facebook page will offer news, polls, photo galleries, trivia, shareable images, and other content. The collaboration was also introduce the Talk Meter, a tool that will collect information on the stories, results, athletes, and events that Facebook users are talking about, with the information shown on prime-time television.

Billed as the company's largest digital program, the apps for the beverage brand's “Move to the Beat” Olympics campaign combine music with sounds from Olympic sports. The desktop ”Create My Beat” app allows consumers to individualize a tune by mixing their favorite music genre with their favorite sport, sounds that DJ Mark Ronson captured as part of the project. These songs are then aggregated into an online community where users can share and listen to “beats” created by others. A mobile app, called My Beatmaker, targets teens, allowing them to create a music mix with technology that detects the movements of a smartphone. Coca-Cola is also sending out SMS alerts with facts about the athletes and artists in its campaign as well as Olympic-related quizzes.

In April, the electronics company introduced the U.S. Olympic Genome Project, a social media platform that maps the connections between American consumers and U.S. Olympic athletes. The Facebook-based app has quizzes testing Olympic knowledge and ways to earn points that can be redeemed for items such as Samsung Mobile products and even trips to London. (However, some former Olympians, including Greg Louganis and Mark Spitz, have sued Samsung, claiming the company wrongly used their names and images in the app.)

The “Go World” marketing campaign also is designed to let consumers connect with athletes personally. Through an app, Facebook and YouTube users can cheer on one of the Visa-sponsored athletes, while those on Twitter are encouraged to use the #VisaGoWorld hashtag. (Visa, the exclusive payment services sponsor of the games, also launched similar efforts for social networks in other countries, including China's Sina-Weibo and VKontakte in Russia.) Consumers can also submit photos or videos of their cheers, some of which will be featured in commercials shown during the games.

Procter & Gamble
As the parent company of such brands as Pampers and Tide, P&G refers to itself as “the proud sponsor of moms.” Its global “Thank You, Mom” campaign—the biggest in the Ohio-based company's 174-year history—celebrates mothers of Olympic athletes through ads run online, in print, on TV, and through social media. A short film called ”Best Job” was released on YouTube 100 days before the official start of the games as was a “Thank You Mom” app, which let consumers thank their moms by uploading videos, photos, or text-based messages to a dedicated Facebook page. Separately, the Beauty Recommended mobile app provides tips and trends from P&G experts as well as curated “Beauty Spots” tours of London.

Glacéau vitaminwater, a Coca-Cola-owned brand, teamed up with pop star Jessie J to develop a music video game. The video features the singer's latest song, “Laserlight,” set to a virtual game of musical chairs that global users can play together. Winners have the opportunity to claim Olympics-related prizes, such as tickets to a Jessie J concert in London during the games.

General Electric used Microsoft's Bing platform to develop an interactive map of London venues set to host the Olympic and Paralympic games. The map contains short descriptions of each venue, as well as information on how the brand is supporting the games and athletes in areas such as healthcare, transportation, and energy. The Web site also has a game: Users answer six questions about G.E.'s role as an Olympic sponsor in an effort to win prizes from the company.

McDonald's is focusing on delivering a message about healthy family meals. In the spring, the brand hosted the ”Happy Meal Chefs” Olympics sweepstakes, which asked families with kids aged 8 to 11 to upload short videos online that share stories from family mealtime. Ten grand prize winners, who were announced in late May, won trips for four to London in conjunction with the games. Later this month, two winners of the Happy Meal Chef Experience Grand Prize will be announced; the winners will participate in McDonald's Global Food Challenge event in London with Team USA.

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