Home Products Plans & Pricing Help Blog About

TweetReach Blog

Thoughts on social media analytics from the makers of TweetReach

Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say?

with 5 comments

Continuing on our Olympics theme, last week we took a look at how the official worldwide Olympic sponsors were performing on Twitter with our Olympic Sponsor Leaderboard. Over $1 billion has been invested by sanctioned companies to sponsor the games and the International Olympic Committee has been adamant in cracking down on ambush marketing at these games. The rules are clear – if you’re not an official sponsor, then don’t try to advertise using any connection to the Olympics. The London Organizing Committee and the British Parliament have even criminalized ambush tactics with fines of up to $30,000 or more according to the New York Times. With “brand police” actively searching out rogue advertisers who haven’t ponied up what in some cases is close to $100 million each, how are non-sponsors taking advantage of Twitter over these few weeks to rise above the Olympic social media noise?

We took a look at the Twitter activity around four of the official Olympic sponsors and compared them to their main competitors who are not official sponsors. We tracked all mentions of the official Twitter usernames for each of the brands from July 27th through August 8th. The high level results are below. If you’re interested in more detailed analysis of the Olympics, just let us know!

To start, we looked at Adidas, an official sponsor of the Olympics and compared them to Nike, who surprising to many, is not a sponsor. Instead of spending the money to sponsor the Olympics, Nike instead has focused its efforts on its #findgreatness campaign featuring the Find Your Greatness video and TV spot highlighting aspiring athletes in cities named London from around the world (excluding the one in Great Britain). That video has now seen in excess of 4.4 million views on YouTube and continues to climb. Of course, many of Olympic athletes are sponsored by Nike (have you seen the yellow shoes?), but even with the subtle brand awareness afforded by these efforts, Adidas has used the Olympics to their advantage and outperformed Nike in terms of Twitter engagement. Since the Olympics began, Adidas has seen 50% more tweets than Nike and 100% more retweets from only 5% more Twitter users who mention them. Advantage: Sponsor Adidas.

Next up, beverages. Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the Olympics for decades has performed quite well on Twitter this year, and was ranked 3rd in our Sponsor Leaderboard last week. Pepsi, not a sponsor of the games, has not focused on the Olympics at all, instead concentrating their Twitter promotional efforts on Summer music with their #pepsimusicnow campaign. With that and their other non-Olympic efforts, total tweets about Pepsi since the beginning of the Olympics are 62% higher than those mentioning Coke. Pepsi has seen significantly higher engagement on Twitter with almost 3x the number of replies to their tweets than Coke and 37% more Twitter users mentioning them.

Of course, follower count may have something to do with this. Pepsi has seen a 41% increase in Twitter followers over the past 3 months preceding the Olympics and now sits at over 1 million followers compared to an 8% growth in followers for Coke. Advantage: Non-sponsor Pepsi.

Moving on to fast food, long-time Olympic sponsor McDonald’s has topped rival Burger King in terms of Twitter engagement with almost 10x the tweets since the Olympics began. McDonald’s, who held first place in our Sponsor Leaderboard last week, beat Burger King in virtually every aspect of Twitter activity including tweets, retweets, replies, and Twitter users mentioning them. Burger King’s Twitter efforts over the period of the Olympics has been focused on promoting their menu items without targeting a specific campaign effort. Perhaps their strategy has been to sit it out and let the Olympic storm blow over? Their one attempt to subtly mention the games resulted in a grammatically-challenged tweet. Advantage: Sponsor McDonald’s.

Finally, we took a look at financial services. Team Visa, an official Olympic sponsor, created a new Twitter username especially for the games and has used it to their advantage to promote their sponsorship. Despite having 3x the followers on Twitter, rival Mastercard’s participation on Twitter has been dwarfed by Team Visa in every aspect of Twitter engagement. Rather than focus on the Olympics, Mastercard has instead focused its social media efforts on promoting the #dineoutday campaign, a fund raising event targeted to raise money to fund cancer research. While a great cause, in terms of Twitter engagement over the past few weeks, advantage: Sponsor Team Visa.

Overall, three of the four sponsors we tracked significantly out-performed their competitors in terms of Twitter engagement since the Opening Ceremonies on July 27th. Only Pepsi, with their massive Twitter effort, beat out Coke based on our Twitter tracking data. Of course, Twitter is but one part of a marketing campaign and these companies are spending millions of dollars outside of social media to promote their brands. And, some surveys indicate that consumers don’t even know who is sponsoring the Olympics. But, in terms of Twitter engagement specifically during the Olympic games, the sponsors’ investments seem to be paying off when compared to their direct competitors.

Track and report on your Twitter efforts with TweetReach.
Simple, beautiful Twitter analytics for PR and marketing pros.

Learn More

Written by Dean Cruse

August 8th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

5 Responses to 'Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say?'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say?'.

  1. The Coke vs. Pepsi battle is very interesting. Regardless of sponsorship it appears that Coke needs to engage and be more responsive. Pepsi appears to have the “sharing” advantage with 3x the number of replies, and they obviously understand that content is crucial.

    Nina Zapala

    9 Aug 12 at 4:21 pm

  2. [...] Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say? [...]

  3. [...] Thoughts on Twitter reach analysis and metrics from the makers of TweetReach. Tweet · Ambush marketing at the Olympics – what does Twitter say? with one …blog.tweetreach.com/…/ambush-marketing-at-the-olympics-w… [...]

  4. [...] companies used similar ‘ambush’ campaigns to raise their profile and associate themselves with the games. Headphone maker Dr Dre managed [...]

  5. [...] companies used similar ‘ambush’ campaigns to raise their profile and associate themselves with the games. Headphone maker Dr Dre managed [...]

Leave a Reply