The Social Olympics: What will Brands do Next?

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 3 min read

Social Marketing Predictions for the London Games

  The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are approaching quickly, and based on the digital plans Games sponsors have in the works, more people may have eyes glued to their smartphones and laptops than they will to TV. Since the Beijing Olympics, we have seen huge growth in the social marketing techniques of sponsors. In Beijing, digital media was just being tapped as a marketing platform. The Vancouver Olympics brought full integration of social, online and mobile marketing, a new level of interactivity, and more creative initiatives.

London Predictions

  For the London Olympics we can only predict how sponsors will reach out via social media. Considering the impressive campaigns over the past two years and the largely successful Super Bowl campaigns last month, these sponsors have a lot to live up to in the sixteen days of events in London. Here are some of the Olympics’ top sponsors for the past three years, the evolution of their social marketing efforts, and our predictions for their digital branding efforts for the 2012 London Olympics:

The Social Olympics Then and Now



  • Beijing: McDonalds unveiled an “alternate reality game” where users discover hidden histories of the Olympics in an interactive online game.

  • Vancouver: In a virtual scavenger hunt titled, How Do You McNugget?, users competed to figure out things like how Olympic athletes eat McNuggets.

  • London: For 2012, McDonalds plans to open the world’s biggest McDonald’s restaurant on the Olympic Stratford site. This is a controversial topic for many, due to health concerns about promoting unhealthy eating habits at the games, especially to kids. McDonalds has not yet unveiled its social marketing campaign for the upcoming Olympics, but we predict the brand will focus on applications, games, and social media initiatives that promote healthy eating and physical activity in order to counter this negative attention.



  • Beijing: Adidas featured an“Impossible Is Nothing” YouTube campaign for 2008 Beijing Olympics

  • Vancouver: The brandused revolutionary 3D technology never before used in the UK to turn the location into a giant block of ice.

  • London: This year, Adidas gave users theopportunity to make history by naming the Official Matchball for the London 2012 Olympic Games football tournament. This taps into a new area of social marketing for Olympic sponsors. It will be interesting to see if more official gear will be named in future branding attempts.



  • Beijing: The brand sponsored the Panasonic HD corner, where they displayed 65 inch Plasma TV and site. Also allowed consumers to upload photos within the subject of Olympics and vote for others’ photos on their website.

  • Vancouver: In 2010, Panasonic unveiled aFull HD 3D Plasma Home Theater System* to the City of Vancouver’s live site.

  • London: This year Panasonic is teaming with NBC to allow HD viewers with 3D televisions to watch the opening ceremony, closing ceremony, men’s 100m final and daily highlights in 3D. This is likely to increase the awareness and presence of 3D home televisions in the future.

We look forward to seeing what’s in store for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Be on the lookout for some very cool social innovation, creativity and engagement strategies at the upcoming games.