Storytelling’s a Big Hit at The Olympics

Have you been watching the 2012 Summer Olympics?

It’s one of those rare moments when we drop our differences and come together as a species. 

Beyond the daredevil athleticism, have you seen the amazing commercials?

Move aside Mr. Superbowl, this is some of the best advertising storytelling in ages. Why? Because many of these ads choose to tell a bigger story instead of just selling product. Everyone from Visa, Lego, Adidas, and Cadillac are embracing the spirit. 

For an inspired example, check out Nike’s ad campaign, Find Your Greatness. If you haven’t seen these yet, they’re a must watch. The first in the series has been viewed 4,000,000+ times on YouTube. This second is a dramatic example of the minimalistic story. Watch them below.

 For more great examples of Olympics story-based advertising, visit Fast Company or Advertising Age.

Join the Conversation

What’s your favorite Olympics commercial? Add a comment below.

 
  • http://www.babblerousers.com/ Chris Bailey

    Hi Michael, I noticed this, as well. What’s always interesting is the intersection of story and marketing in ads like these. For instance, what do you think of the Chobani ad? 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeKNvaU3W68

    On first viewing, I felt it was trying to push a “we’re hard workers just like the Olympic athletes” message too hard. It was a bit forced in trying to connect their company directly with the actual Olympians. But the reason why companies go for an underdog story is because it is often a compelling one. From that standpoint, it’s an interesting message: “We started with little, built ourselves up through community, and now our yogurt is powering Olympic athletes.”

  • Sanjay

    Nicely said.

  • http://www.rightbrainbrands.com/ Tracy Carlson

    While I think these are great stories told well, I wonder if this is really on strategy for NIKE, which has been largely positioned as performance gear for winners.  I completely endorse the inclusive sentiments expressed, but I question whether it will resonate as powerfully with those who value NIKE because it’s the brand of elite athletes.  Certainly this works with NIKE brand values of discipline and endurance, but couldn’t this campaign be done by one or more of NIKE’s competitors?

    • Laurence

      From its very first line ‘There is no finish line’ Nike has been about the spirit of just doing it, not just winning it. Yes they hire famous sportspeople, but that’s only one facet of the brand. Check out their back catalog of advertising – you’ll see what I mean.

  • Linda

    These are all great messages and I love it! It’s about time. They touch a part of our hearts (whether we know it or not) that have been desperately seeking messages like these. So whether any company makes a ton of money off these types of messages is not the story. The story is what are we going to do about what we hear?? The ball is in our court now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisacreechbledsoe Lisa Creech Bledsoe

    I know you were talking more about advertising, but one of the amazing things about the Olympics and storytelling is the number of fabulous Kickstarter-style campaigns that got funded. As a female boxer myself, I’m particularly excited to see Claressa Shields’s (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zcdc/t-rex?ref=live) and Mary Kom’s (http://www.indiegogo.com/withthisring) stories finally get the attention they deserve.

  • Laurence

    But great advertising has always been about ‘stories’. You talk about storytelling like it’s a new idea…narrative, story, disruptive….they’re just part of the latest marketing jargon. Nike has a story, Apple has a story,…but they always did. (And I write as someone who wrote 80s Nike Ads that Nike UK celebrates in its internal presentations right now.) Say something new.

  • http://garydobbs.com Gary Bryan Dobbs

    I really like the shift going on where I’m seeing more possibilities in many than what’s impossible for the majority B-)