The 3 R’s of Social Media Marketing in Sochi

Published by Engagement Labs on August 1, 2014

The Winter Olympics are nuts! Although the summer games have more events, viewers and participants, the winter games are far more exciting. Speed skating, Skeleton, Ski-Cross, Freestyle skiing, even the tame events include guns. Add the spirit of the Olympics to this spectacle and it’s easy to understand why so many marketers want to be associated with this amazing event.

Despite spending up to $100 million to become “Olympic Partners” it appeared that many brands invested pennies into their social media properties. While the Olympic motto is Faster, Higher, Stronger, many of the Olympic sponsors used the 3 R’s instead.


With only 10 brands being able to call themselves official Olympic sponsors, it would seem like using this as your marketing focus is a given. Remarkably, both Samsung USA and Coca-Cola avoided mentioning the Olympics on Twitter while GE did the same on both Facebook and Twitter.

Atos had the most shocking of the official partner pages. It’s perfectly acceptable for small businesses or a not for profit to have social media pages that are maintained with minimal investment or tools. However, it’s difficult to understand why an IT behemoth worth billions would do the same. The Atos Facebook page was amateur at best with low quality photos, an alarming number of typos and mistakes in “corrected versions” of their status updates. Shocking to say the least.


Panasonic had two pages on the go during the Olympics, they shared some interesting action cam videos and facts but were also guilty of reusing stats and images and a website from the 2012 summer Olympics.


One promotion that we have seen for a few years is having individuals send messages to a company in order for that message to be passed along to an athlete. While this may have been novel and fresh a few years ago, the majority of athletes are available on twitter without having to access a third party site. Many of the participating athletes actually promoted this on Twitter. This was only slightly better than there comparison of gold medals to chicken nuggets.

So Who Won Gold?

It’s #HardToTrashTalkSweden and it might be even harder to find a clear brand winner despite some valiant efforts. Visa did an excellent job with their “everywhere” ads and was the only official Partner who took a stand on gay rights. In terms of “real time” advertising, Oreo came back strong after going dark during the Super Bowl. Perhaps the most impressive in this area was an Audi ad highlighting the opening ceremony mishap, which was created by a fan.

The Olympic social media advertising was much like the men’s gold medal hockey game: big names, lots of money and a predictable outcome. By playing it safe and failing to leverage their million dollar budgets, the Goliaths have opened the door for smaller marketers to grab the public’s attention when the whole world is watching and grab social gold.

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The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

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