Research recently conducted by Sponsorship Intelligence analyses sponsor leverage of London 2012 through Facebook, highlighting best practice, winners and losers, as well as key learning for future Games.  

London 2012 was dubbed the first Social Olympics and it was certainly social media that brought the Games to life like never before.  It transformed the ways fans interacted with the Games and also ‘talked’ about the Games.  But how did sponsors leverage their investments in social media and who did it well?

Looking specifically at Facebook, Sponsorship Intelligence, using ZenithOptimedia’s proprietary social tracking software, Socialtools, recently completed a research project that considered these questions.  In this research, Sponsorship Intelligence define successful Facebook strategies, as well as identify the winners and losers in a few Facebook Olympic ‘events’.

The Sponsorship Intelligence research defines success by considering three areas – fan growth, active users and engagement rate.  In fan growth, Coca-Cola were the gold medallists.  Teaming up with London’s top music talent, their ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign successfully fused passion for music and sport around London 2012.  They started their campaign early and built momentum that they maintained across and beyond the Games period.

In active users, Samsung were the gold medallists.  They successfully rode the adrenaline rush of London 2012 to deliver a constant stream of content-rich updates explaining how fans could use their smartphones to create, capture and enhance their Olympic experience.

In engagement rate, P&G were the gold medallists. They ran a compelling campaign recognising the unsung contributions Mums make in their children’s future, successfully telling this story by showcasing their sponsored athletes.

The research also highlights commonalities shared by successful campaigns. The campaigns successfully brought Games experiences to the virtual world, for example, by providing real-time updates allowing fans to enjoy the action as it unfolded. By offering tangible opportunities to get involved, for example, by virtually congratulating athletes, they successfully turned spectatorship into participation.  They also united fans by championing the common cause (i.e. national success) and ultimately, rewarded fans for their engagement through exclusive content.

The research discusses how the first Social Olympics left a lasting impression with fans. It outlines how sponsors provided fans with fresh outlets to cheer for athletes, exclusive content, apps to receive latest news and opportunities to create and share their own Olympic memories.  It seems a high bar has been set for future Games and sponsors will need to perform.

With that in mind, Sponsorship Intelligence define a number of Top Tips to help future sponsors win Olympic gold – commit to a compelling story to attract interest, incorporate Olympic spirit into conversations, secure a loyal following by inviting people early, reward fans and finally, use celebratory cheers to your advantage.

Matt Hales, Head of Consulting at Sponsorship Intelligence, comments, “Given the importance sponsors should now place on using assets in their social media strategies, this research is very significant.  We are now able to help sponsors of all kinds, not just Olympic, more effectively tell their brand stories and build relationships with fans on Facebook.”


Matt Hales

Head of Consulting, Sponsorship Intelligence

T: +44 (0) 20 7961 1000



About Sponsorship Intelligence
Sponsorship Intelligence are a team of experts based in London and New York.  Sponsorship Intelligence work with brands to identify, negotiate and leverage sponsorships, as well as evaluate the impact of their sponsorship investment.  Sponsorship Intelligence work with rights owners to evaluate the reach and impact of their properties.  Clients include PUMA, Electrolux, Verizon, UEFA, IOC and FIFA.

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