How Olympic Partners performed in the “World’s First Social Games”

Posted on 10. Sep, 2012 by in Digital Marketing

The Olympics brand is currently estimated at $47.6 billion (making it the second largest brand in the world, second only to Apple), almost double its value when compared to the Beijing Games.  So it was no surprise to see so many of the world’s largest organisations jumping on the bandwagon and becoming sponsors of the London 2012 Games.  This year’s Olympics was also dubbed the “world’s first social games” with social media playing a crucial role in engagement with the games.  Spectators, fans and organisations were sharing their experiences, results, and views on the games in their masses, generating millions of social mentions every day. Some of the most shared moments of the 2012 games were:

  • Taking the gold medal (again): Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt generated 960,000 mentions during the Games
  • In silver position: American swimmer Michael Phelps generated over 828,000 social mentions.
  • And taking the bronze: Team GB diver Tom Daley received a respectable 487,835 mentions.


But how could businesses benefit from “the world’s first social games”? With top-tier Olympic partners paying up to $100 million, how could they leverage their investment through the different social platforms?  Below are a few examples of how businesses leveraged their involvement with the games and the effects it had through the different social channels.


Sponsors were putting back into communities with several CSR campaigns, particularly aimed at encouraging involvement with sports.  Lloyds TSB sponsored the National School Sports Week, which saw over 4.3 million children taking part in the event.  This was run alongside their Olympic Torch relay and generated large volumes of mentions particularly through Twitter.  However, they saw particular success with engaging forms of media such as videos and images, which were easily spread through the different social channels.

Similarly, Deloitte sponsored the Olympic themed “Warrior Games” which is aimed to support the recovery of wounded service men and women through sport.  They saw great social success with this campaign, particularly through Facebook with the US Paralympic team page regularly discussing the event.

Thought Leadership

Deloitte’s research and surveys in the build-up to the Games and post Olympics not only generated large volumes of mentions on Twitter, but saw coverage through some of the top news and PR sites referencing their findings.  The most discussed piece of research was their Games Readiness report which highlighted that small businesses where not preparing for the opportunities that the 2012 Games had to offer.  Deloitte then ran events in the communities surrounding the Olympic Village, providing workshops and consultation for small business showing how they can best prepare for the effect that the Games will have.  This event highlighted their involvement within the community as well as the quality of service they can provide.  This was later backed up with another Deloitte survey showing that all the preparations had paid off.

Setting Up Camp in the Olympic Village

Having property within the Olympic Village certainly helped generate mentions for Brands throughout the Olympics.  The world’s largest McDonalds situated at the heart of the village was a large contributing factor for them being the most socially shared brand during the Olympics (see the Mashable infographic above for more details).  However, for a B2B brand like Deloitte it would be much harder to set up shop within the OIympic grounds.  Despite this,  the Deloitte house generated several social mentions with its amazing views overlooking the Olympic Park.

Deloitte House at the Olympic Village

Service Partners for the Games

Being involved with the running of the Games was a critical part in leveraging sponsorship deals.  This gave the opportunity for organisations to showcase their services and expose their brand to potentially billions of spectators globally.  Deloitte and Atos Origin did particularly well in showcasing their expertise, with Deloitte being responsible for business operations and Atos Origin being the official IT partner of the games.  Atos Origin was responsible for providing cyber security as well as finalising all results and times for the event.  However, the big winner here had to be Lloyds TSB who generated large volumes of social activity for both their involvement with the Olympic Torch relay and the application process for Olympic and Paralympic tickets.

Lloyds allowed people to nominate potential torchbearers, generating high volumes of conversations online with people tweeting and blogging about their nominations.  As a result Lloyds TSB were cited across many sites creating quality links as well as a lot of Twitter activity.  Their best payoff however, had to be the ticket application forms they provided in each of their branches.  This spread like wildfire through Twitter with hopefuls paying close attention on how best to get their hands on a ticket.

In the end

Now at the end of the world’s first social games, it is clear that social media can play a significant role within any campaign.  Whether it is used as an integral part of the marketing mix or simply to monitor a brands presence online, social media has a part to play in any campaign that a company roles out – be it Olympic orientated or otherwise.  And by the time Rio 2016 rolls around it will be interesting to see the developments of social media and the role it plays.  If you know of any other ways companies leveraged social media in this year’s Olympics please feel free to share below.

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