Amid the Covid-19 gloom that has gripped the world for almost two years, came the Tokyo Olympics like a gust of fresh air, bringing cheer across the world as sports stars, athletes and engaging events kept us glued to the TV sets. India’s record medal haul came as a crowning glory and Indian brands made the most of this week-long event to use influencers, sportspersons and social media to make suitable plugs amid the buzz generated by the global spectacle.
Cricketer Virat Kohli, who has a massive social media presence and often uses his accounts to promote the brands he endorses, took to Twitter to point out how the Indian contingent had a sizeable number of Lovely Professional University alumni. The university used Virat Kohli’s profile to not only get top notch brand advocacy, but also highlight the sports facilities they offer their students, who often end up as star athletes.
Coca-Cola India launched a campaign for Thums-Up with India’s promising athletes Bajrang Punia, Manu Bhaker, Vikas Krishna Yadav and Deepika Kumari featuring in an advertisement surrounding the Tokyo Olympics and India’s 100 years in competing at the Games. The advertisement narrates how Indian athletes aim to turn the tables on critics who often slam the poor performance of the team in this Olympics. The ad came as a morale booster for the athletes and also raised hopes among fans from the players who indeed ended up bringing the highest number of medals for the country ever.
The Inox Group released an ad featuring India’s Olympic medal winners from the Rio Games – MC Mary Kom and Manika Batra – to promise a strong campaign of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics. The campaign spoke on how the Indian athletes fight, sweat it on the field to earn the respect and glory for India at the global sports event that is played once in four years.
Weeks ahead of the Tokyo Olympics was declared open, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, an American candy and chocolate brand, started a popular campaign using popular Olympians such as Michael Phelps saying he can’t wait for the Games to begin and is counting the number of candies he is consuming during the wait.
Several other American athletes too joined the campaign with sponsored posts surrounding the Reese’s candies and chocolates and some said although they are representing the American team, they can’t keep their hands off the chocolates.
When India’s campaign at the Tokyo Olympics began, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu brought an early silver medal for the country. As the nation began celebrating, Chanu was asked what would she want to do upon return home and she said she would want to have a pizza after all the years of hard work and strict diet. As the moment caught the nation’s emotions, Domino’s Pizza was quick to see a scope to use it to add brand value and announced that they will supply the sport star with free pizza for the rest of her life. The announcement warmed up people’s hearts several news organizations covered it, creating more buzz for Domino’s in the glorious moment.
Indian business tycoon Anand Mahindra is a popular social media figure with a large fan following thanks to his quirky posts, insightful messages and large-hearted gifts for achievers. Anand Mahindra had announced that he would gift the Thar SUV to 6 Indian cricketers for their heroics in the India-Australia test series.
Reminding him of the popular announcement, a social media user asked Mahindra to give similar recognition to the young Neeraj Chopra, who won India’s first gold in athletics, in what became a historic moment for the country. Anand Mahindra was quick to reply and ask his company associates to reserve a XUV700 for India’s golden boy, who dominated headlines for weeks since the day he threw his javelin.
This was an important influencer marketing opportunity for Anand Mahindra’s personal brand as well as that of the company, which came out as a benevolent firm awarding a young Indian achiever who brought glory to the country. Also, the brand placed its new SUV, the XUV700, in the spotlight amid all the buzz surrounding Neeraj Chopra.
Similarly, the Indian ed-tech startup Byjus announced a reward for Neeraj Chopra quickly after it was confirmed that he has won the gold. Byjus’ announcement was also covered by news organizations along with that of Mahindra, making the brands shine in the glory of the star athlete.
India’s largest domestic air carrier IndiGo announced free flights for Neeraj Chopra for a year, while GoFirst went a step further and promised similar benefits for all Indian athletes who secured medals in the Tokyo Olympics. Oyo Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal, on the other hand, has opened the gates of all Oyo accommodations across the world, from Europe to India, to welcome Neeraj Chopra for a stay.
Ace shuttler PV Sindhu has been a popular brand ambassador for several companies since her Rio Olympics silver medal. Ahead of this year’s campaign, Visa India roped in the badminton star to announce a fun game on social media where users were asked to tap the shuttle for 30 seconds and post a video of it with a mention of the number of taps. Visa India joined the Tokyo 2020 buzz surrounding the Games on social media holding the hands of a popular athlete.
American airline United launched a campaign with the country’s athletes who were flying to Tokyo for the Olympic Games on a United flight. The airline went with the tagline ’Time to Let Yourself Fly’, inviting customers to once again resume flying and travelling like the sportspersons after overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic, which dealt a blow to the tourism and aviation industries.
The Tokyo Olympics came after nearly two years of no sporting event on such a massive scale and after the Games were already delayed by a year, which further increased the anticipation surrounding it. This became a major marketing moment for brands to encash on as the Tokyo Olympics dominated the news cycle and social media for weeks. And brands left no stone unturned to make full utilization of the opportunity.