The Summer Olympic Games


Every four years, we see some of the most talented athletes compete and accomplish things that we didn’t even know were possible. Most people watch the Summer Olympic Games for the talent; however, others watch it for the marketing strategies created through sponsorships, partnerships, and branding (kind of like the Super Bowl!). The Olympic sponsor marketing strategies this year are blowing us away. From Doritos earrings to Kim Kardashian underwear, we believe we’re in for a treat. We couldn’t be more excited to see what the Summer 2021 Olympic sponsors have up their sleeves this year.

What’s Working This Year?

We all know about the famous Olympic Wheaties cereal boxes, but one cool thing we’ve seen so far during the Olympic Trials is the set of Doritos earrings worn by runner Christina Clemons. Talk about next-level product placement! However, Doritos was not a sponsor of Clemons at first. She likes to wear earrings to match her uniforms, and she forgot her earrings at home. She headed to Hot Topic to find a cool pair of earrings. Then, the next thing she knew, her face was blown up on a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos! After her earrings went viral, the brand wanted to make her an official partner. This story definitely stood out because of its unique origination.

Another interesting marketing strategy we’ve seen is the sponsorship by Kim Kardashian’s undergarment brand SKIMS. Olympians and Paralympians will be lounging in the brand’s comfortable clothing while sharing how great it is over social media. You may be confused as to why Kim Kardashian would be interested in the Olympics. As an established business woman and step-daughter of an Olympian herself, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

One brand partnered with Shi’Carri Richardson even after news of her positive drug test went viral. Nike respected her honesty and accountability and continued to sponsor her through her suspension from her Olympic team. Richardson has been sporting the Nike logo since attending LSU, where she broke the 100 m record, running 10.75 seconds!

Paralympic Sponsorship Guru: Toyota

One of the most well-known sponsors of the Paralympics, which is held shortly after the Olympic Games, is Toyota. Toyota is known for its touching commercials and active role in the Paralympic Games. This year, Toyota took a great leap in its role as a sponsor with a nearly $5 million stipend toward sponsorship opportunities for Paralympians. Toyota has been pouring its money into the Paralympic Games since 2015.

Toyota also showed a commercial titled “Upstream” during Super Bowl LV that featured Paralympian swimmer Jessica Long. The commercial gained popularity and was ultimately rated by USA Today’s Ad Meter as the number five Super Bowl LV commercial! Not only is during the Super Bowl a great time to advertise your brand, but also a good time for your brand to show its involvement with the Olympics. Check it out below!

Olympic Marketing Fail

As we talk about some great marketing strategies of the 2020 Olympic Games, we can’t seem to forget about the 1984 McDonald’s marketing fail that put the company into a financial loss. McDonald’s created a campaign that read “U.S. Wins, You Win.” Different scratch-off cards represented different prizes for customers to win, whether it was a free soda, fries, or a Big Mac. With each meal came a new scratch-off. If a Team USA athlete won a medal on any previous day, you could win again! Team USA ended up winning 184 first-place medals, which in turn meant that a lot of people would be eating for free… for days. 

The Summer Olympic Games is a great time to get your brand noticed. People enjoy seeing all of the different branding efforts as they watch the Games go on. Although there are some marketing fails during the Olympic Games, there are many other successful partnerships that give brands even greater followings. We are definitely excited to watch this year!

Marina Misitano
Marina Misitano is a content creator/blogger for HBT Digital. She is a recent graduate of Saint Francis University, located in Loretto, PA. She holds a Bachelor's degree in digital media and strategic communications.