Olympics 2016: Samsung dominates the conversation as sponsors struggle to generate buzz

Samsung has been the standout sponsor at the Rio Olympics so far as other including McDonald’s and P&G struggle to create the same level of engagement

Samsung has had by far the most effective campaign among the headline Rio Olympic sponsors, according to the latest Brand Agility Index study by PR firm Waggener Edstrom Communications [WE].

Since the opening ceremony last Friday (August 5), the tech brand has racked up 14,000 mentions globally, with Coca Cola the next closest having amassed 5,651 mentions. And with an index ranking of 36 points, Samsung is currently the best performing sponsor of the Rio Olympics.

Samsung 14,000 mentions
Coca-Cola 5,651 mentions
Visa 3,702 mentions
McDonald’s 3,445 mentions
Omega 1,675 mentions
Dow Chemicals 1,436 mentions
P&G 1,341 mentions
Atos 1,282 mentions
GE 1,140 mentions
Toyota 763 mentions

The Index ranking is compiled by rating brands out of five in areas including a campaign’s scalability, relevance, the speed at which it responds on social media, engagement, originality, personalisation and sentiment. WE achieves this by analysing all conversations and engagement levels from brands across news, blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and comments on YouTube during the tournament. It focuses, for example, on mentions that include both the brand’s name and the Olympics on a tweet.

READ MORE: Can the Rio Olympics live up to London 2012 for brands?

Gareth Davies, head of digital and insight at WE, believes sponsors are struggling to create positive mentions as their campaigns have been released too late.

“Maybe it’s because they only happen once every four years but there seems to be a broad trend among brands to launch a ‘pre-Olympics’ rallying cry out via social media to get everyone hyped,” he says.

“Samsung, Coca-Cola and Bridgestone Tires all jumped on this bandwagon and all saw strong engagement on the back of it. Particular note goes out to Samsung’s ‘anthem’ video that mashed together all of the Olympic team national anthems into one, which is still driving engagement and positive interactions to this day. Interestingly, we’ve seen less of this sort of activation from the likes of Adidas and Nike.”

And with sponsors such as P&G repackaging old campaigns for Rio 2016, Davies believes consumers are perhaps tiring of receiving recycled messages.

He explains: “There is a saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ and this is certainly the approach P&G has taken with the re-release of its famous ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign that is launched around most major sporting events going all the way back to London 2012. However, as the advert is now a few years old it seems to lack its impact.

“The same could be said for both Atos, Dow Chemicals and GE. All of these brands are playing a key role in terms of providing the behind the scenes infrastructure. But yet again you’re seeing the same stories being published in the same format – impacting overall originality, difference and standout”.

Samsung 36 points
Visa 33 points
P&G 25 points
McDonald’s 21 points
Toyota 21 points
Omega 17 points

Among the biggest losers has been Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, according to Davies. He says this is largely due to their inability to respond to negative feedback.

“How a brand story is told is clearly key for both McDonalds and Coca-Cola who have both been on the same negative criticism as they faced at the London 2012 Olympics – why is a perceived ‘fast food’ brand sponsoring the world’s leading sporting event.

“Both brands are losing out on engagement and sentiment scores simply because they are not challenging the issue head on and aren’t addressing negative feedback at all. Fans have been lashing out at Coca-Cola’s #ThatGold campaign stating that drinking a coke and winning a medal shouldn’t be compared.”

Furthermore, Aldi has led the way in mentions when it comes to sponsors of Team GB. Its 2,335 mentions were closely followed by 1,867 at Adidas and 1,776 for Nissan. However, brands such as Deloitte, Kelloggs and Fitness First might be wondering when the Team GB buzz will ignite, with respective mentions clocking up at a meagre 107, 41 and 16.