Reflection on Rio Olympics Marketing: Ad Performance Evaluation

Event marketing has been proved to be very effective by many enterprises, and Olympics in particular, as the world's most famous sports event, has unmatched marketing value either to sales or brand building and enhancement, as was proved by Yili, Lenovo, and Coca Cola during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Reflection on Rio Olympics Marketing: Ad Performance Evaluation

The author(s)

  • Ileana Yang Ipsos Connect, China
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Though the 2016 Olympic Games are to be held in Rio de Janeiro, it will have worldwide influence. Many Chinese enterprises sponsor Chinese Olympic Committee and Chinese athletes to show their support to sports undertakings in China and also to promote their own brand to a higher level.


Olympic sponsorship tracking launched by Ipsos involves multi-angle and timely research on enterprises' sponsorship, their marketing activities, the impact on their brand sales and promotion. The research will last from February to August 2016, during which accurate surveillance will be conducted to sponsors' online marketing campaigns.


Ad performance analysis

The overall cognition and brand association of Coca Cola and Yili's Olympic ads are rather good. Despite the good overall cognition of Ice Dew Water and 361 Sport, their brand association is low.


Coca Cola

As the new packaging hits the shelves, Coca Cola has launched "My Gold-Medal Fellow" and "Golden Moment" campaigns on TV and on the Internet.

  • Coca Cola maintains its upward momentum in Olympic marketing.
  • Its marketing activities not only enhances the association of its brand and the Olympics, but also considerably improves consumers' purchase intention.


"My Gold-Medal Fellow" that features a cute pet and the sports star has achieved good brand cognition and association. The unique design of the ad is impressive visually, and deepens the connection of the brand and people’s daily life, hence more emotional involvement in the brand.


Coca's Ice Dew Water also receives good advertising cognition. However, given the limited awareness of the brand itself, the glory of sports stars has overshadowed, to some extent, the role of brand in advertising communication.



Yili also releases its new packaging for milk in its Olympics campaign, as well as the thematic ad, “Be energetic, and it is your day”, on TV and the Internet.

  • The marketing activity has contributed to the steady upward momentum of Yili’s overall sponsorship index.
  • It not only furthers the brand reputation, but also encourages more people to purchase products of Yili.


The ads that star Ning Zetao and Guo Ailun are rather consistent in creative, and the scenarios are delightful and easy to understand. Both have achieved good consumer awareness. Besides enhancing the relevance of the brand and everyday life, the ads also encourage consumers to make better choices in their daily lives. There are still some audience that mistakenly associate the ad with its competitor Mengniu.


Of the two new spokespersons, the popularity of Ning Zetao is much higher than Guo Ailun, so the ad staring Ning Zetao has better boosted consumer interest in the brand and products.


361 Sport

In late July, 361 Sport released its Olympic theme product: “Rio Glory” series training shoes. Together with two thematic ads of “To Sponsor What We Love,” it officially enters its marketing campaign in Rio Olympics.

  • The marketing activities and natural advantages as a sports brand helped 361 Sport gain higher sponsorship cognition and relevance to the Olympics prior to the opening ceremony of the latter.
  • However, given the limitation of communication through advertising and offline activities, its role in promoting brand reputation and purchase intention remain to be seen.


Although the ads starring Sun Yang and Ning Zetao have received certain cognition, despite the limited delivery, the brand and product are not exposed much in both ads, and most of the audience fail to recall the right brand.


Given the similar advertising creative and backgrounds of their spokespersons, the two ads does not generate the effect where 1+1>2; rather, they are confusing (the false cognition rate of Yili’s ad that also stars Ning Zetao is much lower).


It has been sometime after the Rio Olympics, but the reflection on Olympics marketing will continue. What are our expectations for Tokyo Olympics in 2020?

The author(s)

  • Ileana Yang Ipsos Connect, China

Media & Brand Communication