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Iconic Olympics Commercials

Companies have been able to pay for publicity at the Olympics since 1896. So, we are talking about 125 years of advertisements, commercials and other various marketing efforts. The mid-1900's added even more opportunities with an international marketing program (1952) and satellites allowing for overseas transmissions for the first time(1964)! From there, things only grew. Broadcasts now are seen by BILLIONS of spectators in 200+ countries around the globe. This usually means right about now companies are pumping money into high-profile ads that will dominate airwaves during the bi-annual, two-week long event.

Olympics Ad Content

What makes Olympic spots so special? Well, most of them aren't even trying to sell you something. Olympic ads tend to skew towards a feel-good, tug-at-the-heart-strings, narrative style story instead of a straight sales pitch. McDonald's talking about how many associates are athletes. Omega talking about their contributions to Olympic time-keeping. Nike encouraging you to find your greatness. Unlike more traditional ads, commercials during the Olympics are about awareness and having your brand associated across the world with the iconic games.

Iconic Olympics Commercials

Some heartfelt, some humorous, but all incredibly successful. In no particular order, these are a few spots that checked all the Olympics commercial boxes and have kept people talking years later.

2012 | P&G | Thank You Mama



2008 | Visa | Go World We Are Human Ad

1998 | IBM | We Won

2016 | Under Armor | Rule Yourself

2000 | Westpack | How They Do It

2012 | NIKE | Find Your Greatness

The Rise of Social

It's important to point out that most of these fall onto lists like "most-shared" ads of all time. In fact, almost half of the most-shared ads of all time – are from the 2016 Rio Games. Why? Well, because social media is more prevalent now than ever. Facebook started in 2004. YouTube in 2005. Before this, you had to catch the ads online and tell your friends? Now, ads go viral online even before the games begin. For example, the 2020 Tokyo games, now happening in 2021, haven't even started, but we have ads from some of the top advertisers all over the web.

2021 Commercial Spots So Far

The World Only Moves Forward When We Move Together | #StrongerTogether

Your Goodness is Your Greatness: P&G #LeadWithLove | Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Check out more ads already dropping from the 2020 Tokyo games here and here. And let us know which ones are your favorites from over the years!  

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