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Olympic athletes marketing impact through social media banned 2014 Sochi games.

The first big story of the Olympics wasn’t the first gold medal winners or the underlying human rights violations but more prevalent is the hash tag #sochiproblems. As the mass majority of the worlds athletes and journalists traveled to Sochi they began to find issues as unfit amenities such as questionable toilets and yellow murky tap water in the Olympic village. The hastag quickly became popular and became a Twitter account. The account @SochiProblems has grown to 340,000 followers which makes that 120,000 more followers than the actual @Sochi2014 account.

One reason why @SochiProblems might have had such a large and quick following is because the International Olympic Committee banned on athletes and other accredited personnel from posting videos or audio of events, and competitions taking place at Olympic Venues or the Olympic Village. Also participants are allowed to post content and photos, however the IOC requires that all posts must be in first-person, diary-type format. These social media restraints are put in place for only allowing participants to communicate with friends and family and supporters, but not for commercial and advertising for possible sponsors.

The Olympics are the biggest stage for any athlete and for most, it is their time to stand out, market, and brand themselves. Social media is being used and managed to limit athletes ability to brand and sponsor themselves. We can see success in the Olympics gives participants overnight followers and in turn, future sponsors. Sage Kotesenburg is an example of having gained 43,000 followers since winning the games first gold medal in snowboarding. That’s not too bad for a kid from Park City, Utah that has been riding and snowboarding for all his life now, having the exposure and following to attract large sponsors. Also athletes that have sponsorships are not allowed to post about brands unless they have been approved by the IOC.

My opinion on the social media banned for athletes is that they should be able to further themselves, their legacy, and build their brand because there is no better time to market themselves. The social media ban was initially to limit athletes talking “smack” and for talking bad about the conditions in Sochi. However I feel with the creation and popularity of #sochiproblems the media ban was less effective and ultimately hindered athletes ability to have sponsors and market themselves.

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Visa Takes Gold at Sochi 2014

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Visa took home gold when it came to advertising during the Sochi Olympics.  Visa became the first sponsor to use paid search to drive visitors to its Tumblr account.  The ads have appeared on both Google and the Yahoo Bing Network.  According to YouGov BrandIndex. Visa was consistently included in Twitter’s daily “most-shared Olympic images.”  Visa had 15 images featured, which accounted for more than 50,000 retweets and 75,000 favorites.  It’s no wonder Visa took gold when it came to advertising.

Visa has been a sponsor of the Olympic Movement for more than 27 years, according to Kevin Burke, Visa Chief Marketing Officer.  According to Burke “For the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, we used that platform to launch and showcase our new brand repositioning, ‘Everywhere You Want to Be,'” he says. “(The Campaign) ties together our proud history with the Olympic Games to the endless possibilities our brand brings for consumers, merchants, financial institutions, governments and others — all over the world.”

Visa created Team Visa Mosaic that allowed fans to participate in congratulating Meryl Davis and Charlie White on their gold medal win.  Fans could find their avatar within the image of the congratulatory message for the Olympic stars.  Visa sent out tweets to those whose avatars were selected.  The ones selected also received digital autographs from Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

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Sarah Hendrickson received a lot of attention from Visa.  Hendrickson was the featured star of the Olympic debut of the Women’s Ski Jump.  The YouTube commercial for Visa shows Hendrickson getting ready for action to the background speech of Amelia Earhart.  The YouTube commerical gave me chills as I was watching history being made right in front of my eyes.

Visa worked well in advertising during the two week Olympic Games at Sochi.  They tried to connect people to Olympic athletes and make people feel like they were part of the Olympic experience.  They tried connecting those who had no interest in the Olympics, to follow based on eye catching pictures and ads.  I feel they knocked it out of the park and really left us with images that will last a lifetime.  Did Visa take you everywhere you wanted to be during the Olympic games?

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Coca-Cola Criticized for Social Media Campaign Banning the Word “Gay”

A lot of the social media buzz during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics surrounded LGBT issues and Russia’s anti-gay law. Sochi sponsor Coca-Cola was unable to escape that buzz.

Russia has an anti-gay law that bans pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors. Critics say it is so restrictive that it forbids almost any public expression of support for gay rights.

Coca-Cola launched a social media campaign allowing users to type in their name or a message through their website and see it printed on a virtual Coca-Cola can, which they can then share with friends and followers on social media networks. Coca-Cola faced a big problem when users started to notice when they typed the word “gay,” Coca-Cola responded with, “Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that.” However, if users were to type the word “straight,” the website allowed them to.

The social media campaign was meant to send positive messages to Olympic athletes, cheering them on, but after Olympic gay rights activists hijacked their social media campaign for not supporting LGBT rights, Coca-Cola’s social media campaign went down the drain.

An organization called Queer Nation NY re-edited Coca-Cola’s famous 1971 commercial from singers on a hilltop called “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” to scenes of protesters in Russia being attacked  for publicly expressing gay rights.

Coca-Cola responded by uploading the commercial to Facebook and adding the comment, “Cheers to the fact that a song can top the charts and be above love, equality and happiness. #AmericaIsBeautiful.” Coca-Cola’s response played on their Super Bowl campaign, America is Beautiful and Coke is for everyone and continued with #AmericaIsBeautiful throughout the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

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Coca-Cola took a big hit with their social media campaign as did other big sponsors like McDonald’s and Visa, but I think Coca-Cola responded well to their crisis by applying their super bowl message to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

What do you think of Coca-Cola’s Sochi social media campaign and how they responded to the crisis?

VISA INSPIRES CONSUMERS TO PURSUE THEIR OWN DREAMS

Visa has been a sponsor of the Olympic Games for more than 27 years and currently stands as the only payment card accepted at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Visa’s global Olympic marketing campaign celebrates the achievements of the Olympic athletes as a means to inspire consumers to pursue their own dreams. Included in their campaign is the utilization of popular social media platforms recognized globally.  Fans are encouraged to visit Facebook (www.facebook.com/visa) and Twitter (@visa) and share what inspires them.

Visa’s objective in promoting the successful athleticism of the Olympic Games and encouraging others to share their stories helps promote their brand in a positive and uplifting approach.  In addition, their campaign slogan “Everywhere you want to be” sheds light on their inclusive brand that is recognized globally.

Visa’s Olympics commercial, “Everywhere” portrays the dedication and success of the Olympic athletes and inspires viewers to achieve their dreams.

For freeskier David Wise, participating in the Olympic Games wasn’t his only life-long dream.  In a recent tweet, he indicated that #TeamVisa allowed him to cross “item #43” off of his bucket list, with their “Everywhere” commercial.

Visa’s marketing campaign not only celebrates the astounding achievements of the Olympic athletes, but it also gives confidence to fans and empowers them to achieve their most difficult goals, whatever they may be.  After viewing Visa’s Twitter page and seeing the ad commercials, it inspired me to achieve anything I set my mind to and in return allowed me to trust Visa as a brand.

What does Visa inspire you to do?