Several major b2b marketers are introducing new ad campaigns during the 2008 Beijing Olympics with an eye toward reaching a global broadcast audience expected to top 4 billion.
Some of the ads, such as Visa's “Go World” spots, are directly tied to the Olympics, while others, such as GE's latest “ecomagination” ads, talk about products and services in a global context.
“The Olympics provides us a great opportunity to showcase many of our "ecomagination' products,” said Judy Hu, global executive director-advertising and branding at GE, referring to GE's platform of creating products to help solve environmental problems. “The ads will help us build our brand and allow us to advertise in a way that is especially meaningful to the Chinese population.”
GE, a worldwide partner of the Beijing Olympics, is running three new TV spots during the games, which continue through Aug. 24. The ads were created by BBDO New York.
One spot, “Dragon,” is set in ancient China and shows children climbing up a mountain carrying backpacks full of sticks and refuse. Upon reaching the entrance to a cave, they feed the trash to a dragon. The dragon then spews out fire that goes through pipes and heats up a natural hot tub, into which the children jump. Voice-over says, “It's no longer legend that you can turn waste into energy.”
Another spot, “Crane,” features a crane taking flight from a Chinese beach. The bird morphs into a plane, promoting GE's fuel-efficient aircraft engines.
The third spot, “Discus,” features an athlete who hurls a discus into the air, where it is caught by a gust of wind and hits the Parthenon, causing the building to crumble. The ad promotes GE's wind engine turbines.
The campaign also includes a significant online effort, with videos about GE products and services being used in the Olympic Games.
PC-maker Lenovo, which is based in Beijing with U.S. headquarters in Raleigh, N.C., is launching an extensive Olympics effort, with a total of 176 ad placements that will run during the two-week games.
“The Olympics is unique to us. It is in our backyard, and not only are we a worldwide partner, but we are very much powering the Olympics,” said Glen Gilbert, VP-brand management and marketing strategy at Lenovo.
Lenovo is providing more than 30,000 pieces of equipment, including desktop computers, PCs, servers and monitors to help run more than 300 events during the Olympics. It is debuting a series of ads with the theme, “Exceptionally Engineered PCs,” promoting features of its ThinkPad notebooks, as well as the North American launch of its IdeaPad consumer PC.
The ads were created by Ogilvy Worldwide, from offices in the U.S., Australia and India.
One 60-second spot, “Sumo,” shows a group of Sumo wrestlers, who fancifly begin to fly.
“We have, in our x300 PC, a machine that is heavy on features and light on weight, which is conveyed by a flying Sumo wrestler,” Gilbert said.
Another ad, “Laser,” imagines a competitor's laptop that shoots laser beams to destroy nearby liquids. The ThinkPad, by comparison, has a spill-resistant keyboard.
“Each spot is beyond just provoc- ative and cutting-edge—each spot is very daring and breakthrough,” Gilbert said.
The campaign includes a massive online effort, including more than 100 blogs by athletes armed with Lenovo computers and video cameras who recorded their preparation for the games.
Leading up to and during the opening ceremony of the Olympics, telecom company AT&T launched several ad campaigns, created by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta, for its various business divisions.
During the week of July 28, it debuted a spot called “Phelps Phan,” featuring a fan of swimmer Michael Phelps who missed a call letting her know Phelps was in town because of poor cell phone coverage on a competing phone. The ad promotes the “best coverage” claim of AT&T Wireless service.
Last week, AT&T began airing a spot called “Butterflies,” featuring gymnast Nastia Liukin, that promotes live Olympic coverage available on AT&T mobile phones.
During the opening ceremony for the games on Aug. 8, AT&T launched a spot called “We,” promoting the three screens on which viewers can watch the Olympics—TVs, PCs and mobile phones.
“The three-screen spot covers all of our business technologies,” said Daryl Evans, VP-advertising and marketing communications at AT&T. “ "We' is a brand ad that captures the excitement of being a fan of Team USA.”
AT&T is the official telecommunications sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team, and is providing millions of dollars worth of technology at U.S. training centers and at the games.
Leading up to the games, Visa Inc. debuted a campaign called “Go World” that showed athletes and promoted the company's sponsorship of the Olympic Games.
“The Olympics are an incredible platform for us from a marketing perspective,” said Elyssa Gray, head of media and creative services for Visa. “It is a unique event in the world that brings countries together to celebrate sports and the purity of sports. The Olympics are a platform for us to bring value to all of our clients, including consumers, our network banks, merchants and the business community.”
The integrated campaign, developed by TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, and AKQA, San Francisco, includes TV, print, online and mobile. The budget was undisclosed.
The Olympians in the campaign include swimmers Phelps and Katie Hoff, gymnasts Liukin and Paul Hamm, and track and field athletes Allyson Felix and Dwight Phillips.
In addition to the “Go World” campaign, Visa is running ads for specific products and services, such as the Visa Business card and Visa Security.
Online ads spotlight Olympic athletes and drive users to a microsite where they can learn more about the athletes and post their own stories about how the Olympics have inspired them.
There is also a mobile element to the campaign, in which users can send in a text to receive a recorded call to their phone with stories of the Olympic athletes.