SBD/January 2, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Canadian Olympic Committee Launches "We Are Winter" Ad Campaign Ahead Of Sochi

The Canadian Olympic Committee on Tuesday "launched a national advertisement campaign called 'We are Winter'" in what the organization calls the "'largest brand undertaking in its history' with just over a month to go" before the Sochi Games, according to the CP. The campaign is "based on more than 100 hours of video footage highlighting Canada's natural scenery" and will be "shown in 15-to-60 second television spots in both English and French." The ads, which also "include mini-documentaries," feature bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, snowboarder Mark McMorris and skier Mikaël Kingsbury and voiceovers from Gold Medal-winning athletes Jean-Luc Brassard and Steve Yzerman. The campaign will "ultimately showcase 17 Canadian athletes and 10 Olympic sports." The COC also named Twitter "as its official social media partner" (CP, 12/31). The COC's media partners for the campaign include the CBC, Globe & Mail, Bell Media, Rogers, MLSE, Airtime Media, Cineplex Entertainment, Quebecor Media, Sun Media, NewAd, Cieslok Media, Twitter, AOL and Juice Mobile. The campaign was produced by Toronto-based Proximity Canada (COC). In Toronto, Susan Krashinsky reported the campaign began on Tuesday "with print and online advertising" and moved to TV yesterday "with an anthemic commercial" during the NHL Winter Classic. It also will "involve preshow ads in Cineplex movie theatres, plus billboards, transit ads and spots on social media." The campaign also has "a serious business purpose: to give the COC more prominence, and in turn, to bring value to the companies that have sponsored the organization and the Canadian team." The launch "comes at a challenging time," as "excitement in anticipation of the Sochi Games has been overshadowed by deadly suicide bombings" in Russia (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/31).

WINTER CONTENT: COC CMO Derek Kent said compared with COC advertising in previous games, the "size of the campaign has increased dramatically." Kent added that the investment "represents a shift in thinking for the COC." Past COC sponsorship deals "gave an advertiser the right to use intellectual property such as the COC’s logo." The GLOBE & MAIL's Krashinsky wrote the COC now is "doing more advertising itself in the belief that strengthening its brand will lead to a better value proposition when it is pitching itself to potential corporate sponsors." Kent also noted, "It is difficult to renew sponsorships following a home-soil Games." Knowing this campaign was in the works was "a way for the COC to tell prospective partners such as BMW, adidas and Oakley -- all new Olympic sponsors this year -- that it would be providing more marketing support to them." The COC for the campaign "commissioned seven profiles of athletes" such as Humphries and speed skater Charles Hamelin. OMD Canada CEO Cathy Collier, whose firm did the media buying/planning for the campaign, said that because the COC is a not-for-profit organization, it "generally does not pay for ad space, but media donations have been way up" compared with the '12 London Games. The two- to three-minute videos "will be made available to its broadcast partner, the CBC, and will also be posted online on YouTube and the Olympic.ca website." Meanwhile, Canadian Tire's Sport Chek brand "launched its own Olympic campaign" during the World Junior Hockey Championships broadcast on Dec. 26, "featuring many of the athletes it has sponsored." The brand during the Sochi Olympics also will "air commercials focusing on six individual athletes" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/31).
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