How Did They DO That? Medal-worthy Marketing at the Tokyo Olympics

One of the best things about summer (at least every four years) is the Olympic Games. Watching top athletes is part of it, of course. But the Olympics also provide a forum for strategic marketing communications that can be just as thrilling.

This year in Tokyo, some powerful athletic moments and compelling advertising came together in a commercial aired early in the games by Comcast. The ad, titled The Sportsmanship Effect, paid homage to how seeing elite athletes treat each other with kindness and respect motivates kids to do the same. The implication is that we’re inspiring a new generation to play to win without making enemies of their opponents. It’s so full of feel-good vibes that viewers might almost miss something else that makes this advertisement such an exceptional bit of storytelling. Almost.

Like many of the media giant’s Olympic commercials this year, the ad interspersed its imagery of kids with moments of powerful sportsmanship that viewers will have just seen – in some cases, only moments earlier. According to Comcast Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing Todd Arata, the goal is to make people wonder, “How did that happen? I literally just watched that!’”

Since Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which owns the Games’ broadcast rights, the company has unprecedented logistical opportunities. Even so, this ad represents the kind of strategic and creative fusion that we’re all about at Relish Marketing.