By Kyleen McNicholas

As classes begin to wind down and this year gradually comes to an end, we all have one thing on our mind, SUMMER! For some of us, the start of this summer will mean a brand new degree and a bittersweet goodbye with life in Champaign.  For others, it will mean summer internships and a three-month teaser of what the real world has in store for them.  In advertising, this summer will mean a shift in the way companies and brands are utilizing their social media efforts. 

With the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and less than 100 days away, we are starting to see brands shy away from paid media and focus instead on increasing brand profiles through social media platforms.  In prior years, Olympic promotional efforts for brands have centered on print and paid media. This year however, companies will instead use social media to create and promote conversation and weave tighter relationships between brands and targeted consumers.  With this promotional tactic, brands hope to better foster consumer/brand relationships and create a connection with them that will last long beyond the end of the Olympics in August.

Among the brands that have already launched Olympic promotional efforts on their social media sites is Samsung Electronics.  The company recently launched an Olympic-themed Facebook app entitled the U.S. Olympic Genome Project.  The app serves as a routing location for the game “How Olympic Are You?” which uses information from Facebook to establish connections between you and an Olympic athlete.  Playing off the idea of the six degrees of separation, the game finds connections based off common hometowns, favorite books, favorite movies, etc.  As users create connections and complete quizzes, they earn points and badges that are tallied and put on a score board with other friends and others users of the app.  In addition, each week leading up to the Olympics, Samsung releases a question that users can answer to enter a weekly giveaway contest for their products. 

The idea for the game was cultivated in the insight that viewers watching the Olympics very rarely make a connection to the competing athletes outside of those nationally sponsored and promoted in paid media.  Samsung wants consumers to feel a stronger connection to all of the athletes representing our country in the 2012 Summer Olympics, and wants them to remember that Samsung was the one who made that connection possible.

Results for the social centered media strategy have been greatly successful thus far, with over 156,000 likes on Facebook and a doubling of the amount of time on average spent on Samsung sites.  Other companies taking part in the Olympic social media trend are Coca-Cola (using a musical approach) and Procter & Gamble (using an emotional appeal with a focus on mothers).

No matter what paths people end up taking this summer, one event is sure to be on everyone’s mind…the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  With an increasing number of companies placing such a large focus on social media in their campaigns, it will be interesting to see what initiatives others brands will create to create an effective and engaging platform for consumers.


Written by Ad Buzz

The American Advertising Federation Illinois Chapter brings to you Ad Buzz, a blog dedicated to all things advertising related, from our favorite campaigns to trends going on in the industry.

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