Olympics Audience + Brand Engagement

Networked Insights Note: This is the third report in a new series Networked Insights is developing about the Olympics. We will continue to monitor top stories and provide data and analysis throughout the PyeongChang games, and will round out our coverage with a research report answering the question: What is the impact of the Olympics?

With big games comes big spend and this year was no different.

Brands like Toyota, Intel, and Ralph Lauren are investing in the Olympics to not only support the athletes and their core values, but they also leveraged the use of having a captive, engaged international audience as a way to speak about their brand.

From sponsorship deals to promotions to just having the chance to build brand campaigns using the Olympics audience, most of the six brands Networked Insights analyzed are seeing a positive impact from their efforts. But, two brands are actually facing backlash, suggesting their spend and effort on the world’s stage may not be worth it.

When seeking to understand if the spend is worth the bottom line engagement for brands associated with the Olympics, Networked Insights looked at audience emotions. A positive lift for the brand with increased engagement meant the spend and effort were worth it.

The six brands Networked Insights focused on are as follows:

  1. Toyota, campaign with athletes under #TeamToyota
  2. Intel, who during the opening ceremony conducted a light show with drones, a move that broke a world record.
  3. Ralph Lauren, which made the coats for team USA
  4. Oreo, which is heavily leveraging social media and even some of the Team USA uniforms.
  5. Samsung, a Korean company made the phones for all the athletes, except Iran because of international sanctions.
  6. NHL, which wouldn’t allow their players to participate in the winter Olympics.

Audience Engagement on Social Media

From the opening ceremony to today, Intel has still generated the greatest engagement.

Networked Insights BrandEngagement_TopEngagement

This means Intel’s status as a “Worldwide Olympics Partner” and a spend of at least roughly $100 million per four-year Olympic cycle, according to Reuters, may have been worth it.

For that hefty price tag, sponsors, of which there are 13, receive top billing and a chance to showcase their services to spectators at the games and on television. And that’s exactly what Intel did.

Using their technology, spectators are able to engage in real time with the winter games via virtual reality. Also, Intel provided a 5G demonstration, drones, artificial intelligence platforms and various gear for use during the games. Check out more of Intel’s goals and involvement with the Olympics as an international sponsor here.

In-and-Out Burger is successfully capitalizing on the Olympics momentum without having to pay for it. After two athletes, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu were seen eating at the west-coast burger joint while watching the Sochi Olympics four years ago, their moments in the PyeongChang games is exciting sports reporters.

Finally, the NHL remains a primary conversation topic because the organization refused to let their players attend the games because of potential losses to the league. What this means for the NHL’s brand perception is yet unknown, but right now, it is not looking favorable.

Emotional Change by Brand

Two of the six brands Networked Insights is analyzing are experiencing a drop in positive audience emotion.

Networked Insights Olympics Story 3 Emotional Change ByBrand

Because of the NHL’s choice to not allow its players to participate, the organization is seeing a 5.88 percent drop in positive audience sentiment.

Samsung is also experiencing a drop in positive audience sentiment. Before the Olympics, audience sentiment was 83 percent positive and now it is 79 percent positive, a 5 percent drop in positive sentiment. Networked Insights found the drop in sentiment to be mostly due to the brand’s choice to not provide phones to Iran.


Question: For what brands involved with the Olympics, was the juice worth the squeeze?

Answer: Intel, Ralph Lauren, and Oreo.

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