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‘We’re the Superhumans’ sees Channel 4 take Olympic gold

August, 2016

It seems Team GB’s performance in the media league table helped deliver for the BBC during the Olympics. However, with the nation’s broadcaster having the rights and being ad free, what impact has that had on the success of advertisers? Andrew Metcalf, of Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim, considers the issue.

Despite the time difference between Rio and London, Rio 2016 delivered a record television audience for an overseas Olympics for the BBC with 45.24m people tuning in, no doubt helped by Team GB’s amazing performance which resulted in them coming second in the medals table.

Bolton bullet brings home audience

A total of 11.1m people watched the ‘Bolton Bullet’ Jason Kenny win gold in the hugely complicated keirin cycling on BBC One, while BBC Two and BBC Four had their highest viewing figures of 2016.

Digital viewing figures peaked with 19m viewers on 'Super Sunday' after Great Britain won five gold medals – the country's most successful day at an overseas Olympics.

BBC Sport's online coverage also set new records, reaching 68.3m devices in the UK, and more than 102m globally.

The viewing success is possibly down to a number of factors:

  • National interest in our sporting performance
  • An interest to see if Team GB could exceed London 2012 – with only a minority expecting it would, giving us the chance to win Gold in pessimism
  • The dramatic rise in viewing on tablet or on demand and catch-up
     

Sharing matters

A key measurement for the success of any advert is the amount it is shared by viewers. Once again, the advertising threw up some interesting stats, according to PR Week and media measuring agency Unruly.

The most shared advert for Rio 2016 was not one relating to the actual Olympics, but to promote television coverage of the Paralympics on Channel 4.

C4’s ‘We’re the superhumans’ trailer was shared 1,465,776 times, taking the gold spot with a creative masterclass. 

It also became the second most shared Olympics advert of all time behind the P&G’s “Thank you mama – best job” for the London 2012 Games which has been shared 2,450,713 times.

Armour-geddon for sports brands

The 2016 sharing silver medal went to Under Armour’s 'Rule yourself' involving Michael Phelps with 473,635 shares, with bronze going to P&G’s 'Thank you mom – strong' with 200,913 shares.

Interestingly, the 2016 P&G advert failed to emulate its earlier incarnation by a factor of 12 to 1, arguably as it didn’t move on the story and try something new.

When it came to sports brands, the relatively new kid on the block Under Armour, took second and fourth spots in the Rio medal league table for sharing, knocking Nike into 5th, 7th and 10th, with Adidas even further down.

Top 10 most shared Olympic ads of all time

1. P&G 'Thank you mama – best job' (London 2012) – 2,450,713 shares
2. Channel 4 'We're the superhumans' (Rio Paralympics 2016) – 1,465,776 shares
3. P&G 'Pick them back up' (Sochi 2014) – 699,564 shares
4. Under Armour 'Rule yourself | Michael Phelps' (Rio 2016) – 473,635 shares
5. Canadian institute for diversity and inclusion 'Luge' (Sochi 2014) – 324,161 shares
6. P&G 'Thank you, mom - strong' (Rio 2016) – 200,913 shares
7. Nike 'Find your greatness commercial: The jogger' (London 2012) – 199,731 shares
8. Adidas 'Team GB, don’t stop me now' (London 2012) –198,987 shares
9. Under Armour 'Rule yourself | USA womens gymnastics' (Rio 2016) –193,242 shares
10. Nike 'Unlimited youth' (Rio 2016) – 187,384 shares

Top 10 most shared ads of Rio 2016

1. Channel 4 'We're the superhumans' Rio paralympics 2016 trailer –1,465,776 shares
2. Under Armour 'Rule yourself | Michael Phelps' – 473,635 shares
3. P&G 'Thank you, mom - strong | Rio 2016 Olympic games' – 200,913
4. Under Armour 'Rule yourself | USA Womens gymnastics' – 193,242 shares
5. Nike 'Unlimited youth' – 187,384 shares
6. United 'Team USA commercial: One journey. two teams.' – 184,962 shares
7. Nike 'Unlimited you' – 154,693 shares
8. Gatorade 'The boy who learned to fly | Usain Bolt' – 128,254 shares
9. BBC Sport 'Rio 2016 Olympic games: trailer' – 107,570 shares
10. Nike 'Unlimited together' – 87,300 shares 

There might be four years to wait until Tokyo, but advertisers will already be considering who to put their brand alongside – with Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah all announcing that Rio was their last Olympics – there’s definitely an opportunity for some new names to step forward.

One thing we can be certain of is that the marketing and advertising will look a lot different than it does today, and in line with the Olympics’ motto, it will be Faster, Higher, Stronger.
 

Andrew Metcalf - Director

Andrew Metcalf

Maxim / Director

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