The Olympics

See the Spot: Citi Looks Beyond Logos in Olympics Campaign

Bank Taps Five Olympians, Three Paralympians for 'Stand for Progress' Marketing

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Amputee triathlete Scout Bassett will be featured in Citi's Olympics ads.
Amputee triathlete Scout Bassett will be featured in Citi's Olympics ads. Credit: Citi

Citi pushes perseverance and progress in its Olympics spots, one of which will feature amputee triathlete Scout Bassett. That 30-second commercial, scheduled to debut during the 2016 Olympic Games, features Ms. Bassett training and competing in advance of her Paralympic Games competition in September.

"At Citi, our business isn't training athletes. Our products don't keep muscles warm, and we don't design prosthetics," a voiceover says. "So why do we sponsor the U.S. Paralympic team? Because our business is helping Americans everywhere meet the challenges of competing on the global stage."

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The new spot will be one of several the New York-based bank is debuting during the Brazil-based competition next month as part of its "Stand for Progress" message. In total, Citi plans to air as many as four Olympic-themed spots as well as a few more brand-specific commercials. Citi, which is in its third Olympics sponsorship and used "Every Step of the Way" in previous campaigns, is partnering with eight athletes, three of whom are Paralympians.

"A bank has an authentic role in supporting the Olympics movement, but we also had to demonstrate we are doing more than just slapping logos on ads and putting them out there," said Tina Davis, managing director of global sponsorships and marketing at Citi. "We had to demonstrate we're giving something back." She noted that the company has always run its Paralympics marketing during the Olympics to build support and interest in the September event.

In May, Citi debuted #StandForProgress, where Americans were encouraged to set and share their goals, as part of its Team USA effort. Six of the bank's Team Citi athletes, including Ms. Bassett, have been meeting with college students around the country to talk about progress, resulting in a video series on the bank's YouTube channel. The students are part of Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress program, a $50 million endeavor that started in 2013 and is designed to assist around 100,000 youths with job skills.

Citi spent $191.2 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Ad Age's Datacenter, and worked with Publicis Groupe, Finsbury and Cohn & Wolfe. The Olympics campaign will get a social media boost and also include events and an activation on Aug. 5.

In April, the bank, which generated $76.4 billion in sales last year, rolled out a six-city campaign for its U.S. Retail Bank division called "Make It Here."

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