The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang is now well underway, with audience’s already being treated to an array of dramatic moments, from Shaun White’s nail-biting gold medal winning final run in the Snowboarding halfpipe final, to Mexican cross-country skier German Madrazo celebrating finishing last in the 15k cross-country as though he had won the event.

There is no doubt whenever the Olympics are on, summer or winter, there is a buzz of excitement that sweeps audiences worldwide.

Whilst the winter Olympics is often overshadowed by its summer counterpart, there is one thing they both have in common; and that is the opportunity they present to advertisers. It’s clear the value proposition around the Winter Olympics is different to its Summer cousin’s, a much smaller group of countries take part and there are fewer sports and events. However, with the Olympic Committee’s inclusion of newer “funkier” sports such as snowboard cross and slopestyle at Pyeongchang, it’s now being positioned as “the cooler cousin” of the summer event.

With the number of people worldwide with access to the Winter Games television coverage expected to be pushing 5 billion, it is no surprise that it is estimated that the Games will surpass the record Ad spend of $977m seen at Sochi 2014. This has led to a plethora of creative advertising campaigns from brands, and with so many to look at, we have put together our selections for the best advertisements of the Games so far.

Alibaba – Kenya Ice Hockey Team Dream Big.

Part-one of Alibaba’s three-part “To the Greatness of Small” campaign, the commercials illustrate how one small action can touch millions of people, how small moments of character can inspire the world, and how the underdog can achieve great things. Alibaba Group Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung had this to say about the commercials “Through this campaign we can share the story of what Alibaba has stood for from day one, which is to support the small guy and leverage our technology to help the underdog achieve in the global marketplace”.

However, the best part of this campaign isn’t even the commercial itself. Alibaba have actually pledged their support for the Kenya Ice hockey team, and to help bring the amateur team one step closer to their Olympic dream, will be bringing five members of the team to Pyeongchang to experience the Games first hand. Additionally, Alibaba will support the team with equipment and access to training facilities. Could we be in with an underdog story to rival them all come the 2022 Games in Beijing?

Procter and Gamble – Thank You Mom.

Possibly the most moving of the commercials on the list, P&G’s ‘Thank you Mom’ is guaranteed to make even the hardest of men well up a little. The film reflects struggles with prejudices that real athletes have encountered, and celebrates mum’s role as her child’s first and greatest advocate, the one who sees her child’s potential regardless of how others see them. The film aims to help bring people together to talk openly about bias, its role in limiting human potential and the need to look beyond the things that divide us to celebrate the things that all people share.

Prior to the campaign, the International Olympic Committee distributed a survey to Olympians on behalf of P&G. They found that:

  • 55% had felt prejudice or judgement from others growing up.
  • The majority (53%) responded that their mum was their strongest supporter in the face of bias.
  • Almost all (99%) felt that what helped them become an Olympic athlete was their mum believing in them.

Toyota – Good Odds.

A part of Toyota’s ‘Start your impossible’ campaign, this commercial tells the story of how alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft beat the odds to become a Paralympic gold medallist. The ad actually made its debut during the Super Bowl, where it was voted the most effective commercial based on key brand metrics. The ‘EQ’ score is a combined metric that scores ads on their likely emotional, social and business impact, and ‘Good odds’ received the highest rating of 6.1. The review from Unruly (Developers of the EQ metric) about ‘Good odds’ said: “It elicited feelings of inspiration, amazement, warmth and happiness and scored high on brand metrics, including 82% on both credibility and authenticity, and a brand recall of 70%”.

Nike – RUN IT.

A list of the best commercials for a major sporting event would not be complete without an appearance from Nike. Part of the wider ‘Impossible to ignore’ campaign, the ‘RUN IT’ commercial follows the conventional Nike format of a mashup of sports with a few famous faces thrown in there. Fitting with the Games in Pyeongchang, the commercial features Korean-American singer and songwriter Jay Park. Scenes such as a snowboarder racing between abandoned snow-covered cars, are designed to celebrate the ‘rule-breakers’ amongst us.

Aldi – Olympic Heroes 1 & 2.

Finally, a bit of good-old British fun from Aldi to finish. These commercials feature some of Britain’s most celebrated winter Olympians of all time in Eddie the Eagle, and Torvill and Dean. Aldi even manage to get their new catchphrase “that was amazing” in the ads, see for yourself how..


To find out more about how we at EarlyWMC can help your organisation to utilise cultural moments to boost your brand awareness, get in touch with myself at or a member of our team.