August 4, 2016

5 Olympic Campaigns that Prove All is Right with the World

Aspirational marketing is a breath of fresh air.  In this time of global unrest and social and political strife (<– understatement of the 21st century), we all need a little escape. Ok… a big escape. To a tropical location. Complete with bikinis and umbrella drinks…. Like, perhaps Rio?

Even Jesus is Excited

Capturing Aspirational Content

Today’s blog will showcase the aspirational work to be found in promoting brands during the Olympics.

The Olympics gives advertisers a unique opportunity to bring out the best in all of us. The global event is the ultimate escapism. It encourages us to go to our happy place where we wear rose-colored-glasses and flip flops and rise above petty differences to engage in finding the best of the best in the human race. Brands can benefit from turning our focus to athletes with drive and determination, and to stories of guts and glory.

Here are just 5 examples.

  •   Thank you, Mom


This powerful storytelling by Procter & Gamble taps into an innate human truth: when times get tough, we all want our mommies. By paralleling external disasters such as tornados and car crashes to internal emotional turmoil in larger-than-life arenas at the Olympics, we’re quickly driven to that place where we remember all the times our moms were there for us, and are reminded of the skills she taught us to get through life’s obstacles. Finding composure in the midst of a metaphorical storm. Focus. Confidence. Determination.  Our moms modeled these invaluable skills in the toughest of times, and those transfer to become grit in competition and in life. And we are so grateful. What a great message.


  • Doing Good.


This interview-driven introduction by Missy Franklin’s mom and dad lays bare all parents’ greatest worry; that even though we want what’s best for our children, we’re pretty positive we’re messing it up This authentic storytelling draws you in and sets the (literal) stage for their daughter to come up and express her feelings. The best part is that Minute Maid was smart enough to put this content and storytelling first, and the brand a far second. Sure, there’s product placement, but it’s unobtrusive, and chances are you won’t notice it because you’re too busy crying happy tears. And then calling your parents to tell them they’re #doinggood.  It all aligns wonderfully with their tag line of “Put good in. Get good out.”


  • The Anthem.


This video from Samsung tries to remind us that people around the world share more in the human condition to unite than divide us. By using beautiful, remote and diverse settings along with a soaring score, you’ll be singing along at the end. With your heart, since you won’t know the words, but it won’t matter.

  • Future Olympians.



Yes, even babies can get into the game. Click here to see it.  Pampers is capitalizing on cuteness for these Olympics in a short, sweet, fun way by sharing simple gifs. It’s proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to be relevant. You just have to get creative.

Intermission: Missed opportunities.

There are so many stories of underdogs coming back from injury, from loss, or from an unfathomable childhood, and these “Comeback Kid” stories are a huge opportunity for brands. I keep looking for a video from New Balance on Brenda Martinez because her story is so compelling. If you find one, share it, because the brand doesn’t have it on the website.


  • Last, but not least, Katy Perry.



“Rise” for NBC Olympics.

If that doesn’t make your blood rush and your legs ready to karate kick, then you might be an automaton. This piece uses pacing through music, editing (complete with natural sound), slow motion, and cinematography to take us on a journey. The storytelling is so complete and immersive that the athletes’ wins are our wins; their determination, our own.

Let’s hope brands can continue to tap into aspirational messaging beyond the finish line of the Olympics. It’s powerful. It’s engaging. It leaves this writer wanting more, which is what you want for your brand.

Have you seen (or created) another great example of aspirational marketing?  Please share it, and I could feature it in an upcoming blog. Email me. I’d love to hear from you.