Lesson From Olympic Advertising

Ah, the Olympics. While great for athletes and fans, the Olympics is also a great opportunity for advertisers looking to reach millions of people from all walks of life.

But how do they get the most from their million dollar Olympic buys? The answer can help all of us.

Since the Olympics stir up emotions in viewers, savvy advertisers simply look to tap into those emotions and guide the viewer to a connection with their products or services. Look at this spot from Visa (it’s my favorite in the group, and it features Morgan Freeman’s voiceover):

Feel the emotion? Of course. Who can’t? But what connection does Visa make once they get you sucked into the spot? Well, no connection really to a specific product or service. But the brand benefits because the viewers can “feel” that Visa has the same interests/core values as they do. Visa understands success and they understand failure. But more importantly they understand, as all of us do, that the effort is what matters.

So how does this relate to more local advertising? Well, the lesson here is that effective ads are custom made to match the specific show (also can be seen as the specific “medium”) that delivers them. So if you’re running an ad in the food section of a newspaper, doesn’t it make sense that the ad has something to do with food or food preparation? For hospitals, this section is ideal for ads about diabetes, healthy heart programs and even immediate care centers — but the key is that the message has to tie back to food or food preparation. In the case of an immediate care center, a print ad in the food section can show a photo of a bagel with the headline: “It Looks Innocent Now, But Watch How Squirmy It Gets When It Sees You With That Knife.” The copy can explain how dangerous it is to cut bagels and even reference some stats. Then it can move to explaining how an Immediate Care Center is nearby to handle any and all of these unexpected injuries.

For Builders, an ad in the food section should be about the kitchens — value of appliances, inclusion of granite over laminate counter tops, etc. Headline could be: “Sure, I’ll Do The Cooking”. Then the body copy can explain why the reader (who is in the food section of the newspaper) would be so willing to take up the chore of cooking in a kitchen built by you.

In summary, ad messages need not simply be announcements of products or services you offer. For the best results, your message should tie into whatever media is delivering the ad with as much emotion as possible.