Coca-Cola, which has sponsored Olympic games going back to 1928,
will air the ads in more than 50 markets. The TV ads will begin
airing in the U.S. on Aug. 5 during the Opening Ceremony.
Coke shot new footage of 24 athletes, ranging from British
sprinter Jodie Williams to Canadian Badminton player Michelle Li.
The brand also secured the rights to use stock footage of at least
an additional 55 athletes. Local markets will tailor their own ads.
TV spots geared for North America give more attention to U.S.
athletes, including soccer star Alex Morgan, track and field
athlete Ashton Eaton and swimmer Nathan Adrian. Limited edition
packaging will include silhouette-style images of athletes in
A large outdoor component of the campaign will feature shots of
Olympians that were taken during two separate photo shoots: one in
Los Angeles for U.S. athletes and another in Barcelona for global
And Coke is planning two big experiential marketing events on
the ground in Rio during the games. One venue in Olympic Park is
designed for people who have tickets to Olympic events. It will
include product sampling and retail.
At another venue in the Praca Maua area of Rio, Coke is hosting
what it calls The Coca-Cola Station for people who don't
necessarily have tickets. Teenagers are the primary target.
Attractions include a "liquid immersion experience where teens can
step inside a Coca-Cola bottle," as well as opportunities to take
360-degree photos with the Olympics torch, according to a company
The venue will also act as a hub for the brand to use social
media to disseminate content collected at the games by several
celebrities. They include 19-year-old Australian singer Cody
Simpson and his 18-year-old sister Alli, YouTube stars the Jake
Boys, 20-year-old Canadian actress Allie Evans and Brazilian social
media star Lucas Rangel, who has 2.7 million Instagram
Coke's plans also include major events for employees,
business-to-business customers, consumers and bottlers. The company
is prepping the events amid negative media reports about a
range of issues plaguing Brazil, including the Zika virus,
economic woes, crime and political turmoil. The Zika situation has
led to some athletes dropping out of the games, including Coke
endorser Jordan Spieth, who had been scheduled to be a part of
North American Olympic marketing plans.
Despite those woes, Coke is expecting big turnouts at its
events. The company is prepared to host 5,000 to 6,000 people a day
at the Olympic Park venue. And demand for the events for employees,
customers and business partners is strong, said Peter Franklin,
group director of worldwide sports at Coca-Cola. "The only problem
at this point is we are oversubscribed," he said. "I was expecting
that we would have a drop off and we really haven't."
Coca-Cola Co.'s Olympic marketing doesn't stop at its flagship.
Its Powerade brand is introducing a campaign called "Blue Bloods"
that was created by the Argentina office of David. Ads draw
parallels between medieval knights and modern athletes.
Coca-Cola-owned Core Power high protein milk shake has an
endorsement deal with gymnastics star Simone Biles. Minute Maid is
running ads featuring swimmer Missy Franklin. Vitaminwater is
running a social media contest that stars soccer player Megan
Rapinoe. And Zico coconut water is running digital ads starring
diver David Boudia and soccer player Ali Krieger.