The Fastest Olympic Campaign
Gold Media Agency of the Year: Touché!
Agency Touché! knew the big global Olympic sponsors would, as usual, create a global creative platform that would be adapted locally in every region of the world, including Canada. With big budgets and high share of voice, these global brands achieve high frequency campaigns that run the same creative for many weeks. For many, this leads to swift brand fatigue and the blanket of Olympic advertising becoming wallpaper.
Sport Chek, Canada’s leading sports retailer, wanted to stand out from the overwhelming Olympic advertising noise. Like every retailer, it needed its Olympic activation to create a lasting lift for its brand and generate short-term sales, with a fraction of the budget. To break-through, the agency needed to think differently.
As Sport Chek wasn’t the most powerful Canadian brand associated with the event, the agency used the brand’s relative size as an advantage. With a much lower budget, Sport Chek would never be the strongest in terms of share of voice – that’s why it opted to become the fastest. The agency decided to go in the opposite direction: it crafted a media strategy that was nimble and reacted to the ebb and flow of Canadian events before and during the Olympic Games themselves. The team believed relevance would win over frequency. Nothing would be “pre-recorded” in advance and the media strategy would allow for 100% of the impressions to be activated in real-time and be event-triggered. Everything was centered around the Canadian athletes – victory or adversity. All ads were triggered around the subjects Canadians cared about the most.
The strategy was to create and market Sport Chek branded ads featuring Olympic content at an unprecedented speed.
This happened thanks to a first-of-its-kind “war room,” set up exclusively for Sport Chek inside the headquarters of Canada’s official Olympic broadcaster, the CBC. Partnering with the CBC not only provided access to production facilities, but also granted Sport Chek access to exclusive footage, even footage of athletes Sport Chek did not sponsor and overnight Olympics stars (who were not featured in any pre-recorded commercials of the brand’s rivals).
The strategy was to build reach at Olympic speed and allow the next message to air as quickly as possible. To succeed, the agency needed the content to be pushed instantaneously through all media channels and not be limited to CBC’s media properties. Following extensive media negotiation, it was agreed that the Sport Chek real-time ads could be pushed simultaneously on all media channels including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snapchat.
All of the ad content included footage of key moments within hours of those moments happening.
-Congratulatory messages were live within 30 seconds of Canadian medal wins; this initiative required the media team to be “on” 24/7.
-All ads ran in-program, outside of standard commercial TV breaks, to be strategically positioned in Olympic content.
-To celebrate the launch of each new TV spot, Sport Chek owned 100% share of voice on Youtube for an hour. The domination was scheduled to run at the same time as the TV spot.
-Mobile mastheads, Facebook, Twitter and CBC digital assets were also swiftly activated to react to real-time sporting events.
-The agency also created a new Twitter format that allowed users to send a cheer to an Olympian 24 hours before they competed. The athlete would then automatically respond with a thank-you video sent directly to the user.
This campaign truly was the fastest Olympic campaign with more than 22 new pieces of creative produced and 55 million sport event-triggered impressions put to market in a mere 17 days. By being 100% activated in real-time, the campaign was able to constantly renew its advertising, celebrate Canadian success and provide a fresh experience for viewers who were getting tired of seeing the same ads during the Olympic Games.
Post-campaign tracking showed significant brand lifts, despite a budget lower than most advertisers during the Olympic Games. Eighteen million people were exposed to the campaign (half of the Canadian population), with more than 1.3 million hours of content being watched.
All of this combined resulted in a 10% increase in sales during the Olympics. It was a dream campaign for a retailer – creating a significant long-term lift for a brand, while creating short-term boost on sales.