The Power of Purpose: Olympic Ad Winners

The Power of Purpose: Olympic Ad Winners

Much like the Super Bowl, the Summer and Winter Olympics have become a place for advertisers to show off their big guns. And despite a spate of pandemic-induced irregularities that affected the games themselves, the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics were largely the same when it came to big brands taking big swings.

Trading on the sweeping inspiration of the games, many brands try to connect with consumers by showing their more-humanistic sides which is an “ok” thing to do. Really…it’s fine, but let’s be honest: brands that walk it like they talk it tend to fare better when it comes to public acceptance of their claims of altruism. Overextend in a way that is difficult to connect the dots between the true purpose of your brand and you may suffer self-inflicted wounds. We found a few stand outs in the latest batch of Olympic brand hopefuls; companies that leveraged their existing purposes in believable ways with great results.

“The Unsponsored”

Ally Financial states its purpose about as directly as you can – it’s right in their name. For the Olympics, they created a flagship spot that features athletes of all kinds receiving help in a variety of ways. It’s a great spot, but Ally took its purpose position a step further and bolstered its main TV ad with a memorable online-only campaign entitled “The Unsponsored”. Ally scoured the GoFundMe pages of unsponsored athletes. The company then donated $250,000 to 20 athletes to use however they wanted. (Three Olympic hopefuls each got $25,000 while the remaining 17 split the rest.). The resulting digital assets are powerfully intimate portraits of athletes that not only connect, but demonstrate Ally’s stated purpose in a believable way.

We’re All Better Off With An Ally

The Unsponsored: Sarah

“There She Is”

Dick’s Sporting Goods surprised us with “There She Is” – a remarkable spot that turns an antiquated American tradition upside down and causes the audience to reexamine what it means to be Miss America. The spot takes a stand for female empowerment in a way that you would not ordinarily associate with Dick’s Sporting Goods but wow, does it land. We already know that Dick’s sells sporting goods for women, but what we now understand more-deeply is how they feel about female athletes.

There She Is

Advertising is a competition in and of itself. These are just two examples of brands who played the purpose game particularly well. The Olympics are at their best when they celebrate the human spirit. When the underdogs prevail, it’s hard to not get swept up in it all.  Congratulations to the nation of Tunisia for its first-ever Gold Medal in Swimming thanks to an unknown 18-year-old and to The Philippines for their first-ever Olympic Gold Medal of any kind (Women’s Weightlifting)

Colleen Bedell
No Comments

Leave a Comment