Twitter

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.

Sponsoring an Olympics seems like a no brainer, right?

Social Media, Twitter #SochiProblems

Social Media, Twitter #SochiProblems

Being a sponsor for the Olympics seems like a no brainer. In 2012, Budweiser hosted a party and it was a hit! The U.S. men’s basketball team was on the dance floor dancing to Queen’s, “We will Rock You.”  CBS released an article stating the controversy that sponsors are facing. They said, “Several factors are casting a shadow across the Winter Olympics before the games have even began, from terrorism fears to anger over the country’s anti-gay laws.” Journalist from CBS complained about the undrinkable water and the wild dogs that are roaming the streets of Sochi. Most sponsors are staying on the sidelines with the disputes over Russia’s anti-LGBT and other human right issues. Sponsors are not sure that they want to be associated with all the problems. As the problems have become more prevalent, there has been a hashtag sent out using #SochiProblems. Being a sponsor for the Olympics is a huge investment, costing companies around $20 million dollars. Coca-Cola and Chobani are running into controversy’s regarding Sochi. Coca-Cola is struggling with the Russian culture, because their Super Bowl ad features a gay family and Russia has a law forbidding gay-right. Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University said,” Well, this is all just a terribly awkward situation for the sponsors.” Chobani on the other hand, is struggling with getting their products to Russia. Chobani sent over 5,000 cups of their Greek yogurt but Sochi said that they did not receive the paperwork from the U.S. that it requires.

#SochiProblems has taken off as a trending topic on twitter.  #SochiProblems already has 337,000 followers and still counting.  This account is showing its followers the baffling photos found in hotel rooms, and the 15 feet deep manholes on the streets of Sochi. One reporter tweeted pictures of light fixtures in his hotel room falling from the ceiling. This twitter page also talks about the fifth Olympic ring mishap during the opening ceremony. JonnyQuinn, a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team was trapped in a bathroom with no phone or way to call for help. He had to smash the door open and posted the photo on twitter.

Needless to say, Sochi has been an Olympics we will never forget.

Did Christin Cooper go too far?

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Bode Miller is a six time medal winner for the winter games in alpine skiing. After winning the Bronze medal this year in Sochi, Miller was interviewed by Christin Cooper. Cooper is an interviewer for NBC news. The interview with Cooper wasn’t like other interviews; this one was emotional and upsetting. Miller had been asked multiple questions from Cooper and brought up his brother who had passed away last year. Miller shed a few tears after talking about his brother who was thought to have had a seizure after a motorcycle accident.

There was controversy after this interview about Cooper pushing the limit with this interview and making Miller upset about his brother. Miller then tweeted “Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.” The following tweet then said “I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not her fault. #heatofthemoment.”

There were a lot of retweets and favorites when Miller posted this to Twitter. This is a perfect way that the athletes can talk back to the public by using social media in case this situation might have been misinterpreted. In this case many people thought that Cooper was in the wrong, but like Miller said it was the heat of the moment. The last tweet that was sent from Miller about the interview was, “My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasn’t trying to cause pain.”

Miller uses twitter to express his thoughts about the issue to help people understand that Cooper wasn’t in the wrong with her questioning.

 

Lolo Jones, World Class Social Media Athlete

McDonald's Cheers To Sochi Athlete Event

If there is one person you should follow during the summer or winter Olympics it is definitely the star hurdler turned bobsled competitor Lolo Jones. Jones utilizes social media better than any athlete I have seen so far and she uses it across multiple platforms.

Through the Sochi games alone Jones used Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram throughout the two weeks in Russia with her activity being lower during days she had to compete. Her social media antics are typically light hearted and fun to view and were especially refreshing to see while there were so many negative stories coming out of Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Jones not only did well with posting her on her own but she also replied to and retweeted people from back home that were wishing her luck which fans enjoy to see because it makes a world class athlete such as Jones seem more relatable and down to earth which you do not always get out of people with fame. The only way keeping an eye on her social media presence could have been more entertaining is if her team would have medalled along side the silver medal team from the United States, Elana Meyers and local Olympic athlete Lauryn Williams.

Below are some examples of her posts from Sochi that I found entertaining. I’m sure there will be more to see from her when she is not too busy training to get back in shape for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Resume Updated

https://twitter.com/lolojones/status/436616397431775233

Visualization preparation for Olympics: Bobsled Pilots vs Brakeman

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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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From Sochi to Stardom

Now that the 2014 Winter Olympic games are over, it is clear that Sochi not only set the stage for athletes to be watched during their events; the eyes were also now on social media.  From simple selfies, wolf hoaxes, being trapped in bathrooms, and everything in between, the social media presence was one that has never been seen before for an Olympic games.

If you were not paying particular attention to the games, you might think that “being trapped in bathrooms” was a misprint, but it definitely happened.  U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn was taking a shower and when the door either became locked or jammed, trapping the Olympian inside.  Quinn then “used his bobsled push training” to escape from the bathroom, destroying the door to escape.  The bobsledder took to Twitter to share his experience, saying “I knew when I posted that photo I’d probably get a couple of retweets, a couple of funny comments, but nothing to the extent of what has happened.”  The post has received tens of thousands of favorites and retweets, making Quinn an overnight viral sensation.

Ski slopestyle silver medalist Gus Kenworthy also made a splash on Twitter, with maybe the biggest “aww” moment of the Olympics, especially for dog lovers.  Kenworthy posted pictures of himself with stray dogs, with one in particular gaining attention.  The picture is of him sleeping with his medal that he earned, and one of the puppies that he is adopting, Rosa, draped on his chest.  Kenworthy as since finalized arrangements to adopt five dogs from Sochi, four puppies and their mother.  Between winning the silver medal, and all of the great publicity from his Twitter, Kenworthy had himself an Olympics to remember.

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It was not only the newcomers that added to their followers, however.  U.S. hockey player T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues, who had the big shootout performance against Russia, saw himself become an even bigger and more recognized star in the hockey world, gaining 130,000 followers since his performance.

The unique combination of social media and the Olympics this year has propelled many athletes into the worldwide spotlight, whether they won multiple medals or none at all.  This shows the great impact that social media has had on sports, and most other topics in the world.

Puffs in Tears of Joy After Their Sponsorship Duo Meryl & Charlie Win Gold

Ice dancers, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, were the talk of the Olympics.  The duo were one of the most popular athletes at the Olympics this year.

Puffs announced their sponsorship with Davis and White in the fall of 2013, and after their successful journey to the 2014 Sochi Olympics; they are most definitely a proud sponsor of the games and the medalists.

Throughout the games Puffs, Davis and White utilized social media platform, Twitter, as a way to promote the brand.  Puffs official twitter page was nonstop with tweets that cheered on Davis and White.  They tied in the emotional side of the Olympics by sending out tweets that expressed the emotional rollercoaster that the athletes and fans go through while watching.  Puffs created a hashtag, #PassThePuffs, that linked with those tweets in hopes to get it trending.

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Davis used Twitter and Instagram several times to show her support of the brand.  Product placement in social media showed them using Puffs products during their journey.

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Davis and White also incorporated their mothers into posts by tweeting and instagraming about how they had to get their own Puffs for their butterflies and tears.  Incorporating the Olympians mothers targeted Puffs large target audience, stay at home moms.

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Although Puffs have a small following on social media, the numbers went up remarkably from the amount of TV and social media time they received from the Olympics.

Puffs still continue to tweet about Davis and White success at the Olympics since their names are a household name now.  Even if fans are just following Davis and White, their retweets of the brand are still getting the name and product out to the public.  Puffs success with social media marketing alongside their sponsorship with Davis and White definitely has the brand in tears of joy, happiness and accomplishment.

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#SochiProblems Reveals Real Problems in Sochi, Russia

Journalists, Olympians, and tourists took to #SochiProblems on Twitter to reveal the poor conditions they’ve experienced in Sochi, Russia for the Olympic Games the past two weeks.

Although the hashtag and account (@SochiProblems) are meant to be humorous, did the tweets reveal actual concern for the problems in Russia? Should journalists have taken the time to report on such poor conditions in post-Soviet Russia? Maybe all of this is just a cultural misunderstanding. Maybe living conditions were the last thing on the government’s minds, granted Russia was facing other major problems like terrorist threats and anti-gay attacks.

Here are some examples of such tweets from journalists who stayed in Sochi:

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If accommodations made for journalists and olympians were so poor, what are the living conditions for the rest of the population? Russia seemed to unintentionally portray themselves as a third-world country, possibly an indication of a much greater issue.

The Twitter handle @SochiProblems currently has 325K followers. Throughout the Olympic Games, the account has tweeted and retweeted comical tweets about the unfortunate conditions. More users seem to focus on making fun of the conditions rather than show concern, which has been insulting to many Russians.

Numerous articles have stated that #SochiProblems is more of an embarrassment for America than it is for Russia because of ignorance. (Here’s one article: http://www.policymic.com/articles/81663/sochiproblems-is-more-of-an-embarrassment-for-america-than-it-is-for-russia).

Whether the hashtag leads to funny tweets or not, in the end it reveals possible living condition problems in Sochi, Russia. Should such conditions be ignored by the rest of world or is our duty to report about it?

#CheersToSochi, Some People are Not “Lovin It”

There’s no doubt, we all know Russia’s views about the LGBT community, which has been clearly showcased for the 22 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This of course has spiked a heated issue within the LGBT community where many people have openly voiced boycotting the Olympics in its entirety.

But, it hasn’t stopped there. Major sponsors of the Olympics, such as McDonald’s have gotten the wrath from individuals all over. People think the corporations support Russia’s views because they have signed on to be sponsors. That is not the case! Inevitably the companies are sponsors to help their brand, marketing and revenue on an international scale…nothing more!

Focusing specifically on McDonald’s, the corporation launched #CheersSochi on Twitter for people to write their support for those competing in the Olympics. However, this idea to boost Olympians confidence has turned into a way for people to further show their outrage about McDonald’s being a sponsor of the Olympics. The hashtag was later removed and #CheersToSochi was then created for people to continue their “hate.”

McDonald’s quickly responded to peoples’ tweets and concerns on the corporations website by saying the company support human rights and believe that the Olympics should be open to everyone without discrimination. The company also supports all those competing and wanted to use Twitter to simply inspire the athletes.

That statement, however, hasn’t stopped people using #CheersToSochi to bash the company for sponsoring the Olympics, which is also known as “hashtag hijacking.” It’s clear that peoples’ goals for their tweets are to show their distaste for what Russia stands for, in hopes to shed light into the LGBT community by using the hashtag #CheersToSochi.

In my opinion, I think McDonald’s is not at fault for anything, in fact, the company has shown its support for equality and tried to help our fellow Americans in Sochi by creating the hashtag in the first place. After McDonald’s posted the statement about equality on their website, people should have understood what the company stands for and stopped tweeting their anger. Instead, support Team USA with the hashtag!

So, I leave you, the reader, with the question, do you think McDonald’s supports Russia’s views?

[Photo Curtesy of Google Images]

[Photo Curtesy of Google Images]

[Photo Curtesy of Google Images]

[Photo Curtesy of Google Images