It's the Advert Olympics!

It’s that time again. The Olympics. Now I can’t speak for everyone in the studio but personally I love the Olympics. I much prefer it over the FIFA World Cup (ducks thrown chairs), the World Rugby Champs (hides under desk) and pretty much any other big worldwide sporting competition there is. I think FIFA is the only organisation that allegedly earns more in ROI then any other sporting event out there.

But what I love about the Olympics is that there’s so much going on than just kicking around a football on a pitch. And if its soon time for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, that means agencies and brands have already started out the gate with their ad campaigns for the event.

So you know what that means. Review time! Gather around kids and let’s see what some of these lovely brands have put together for #Rio2016.

Gillette – Pretty Isn’t Perfect

Verdict: Liked the fact they used a Sia song, haven’t quite gotten used to ‘Unstoppable’ but may have to add that to my iTunes rotation. I like how the direction of the video starts off, plus you get to see a few famous sports-people in the mix, like Neymar Jr., Ashton Eaton and Ning Zetao. Gillette is a great little product, and even though it is a product-placement advert, it kinda spoiled the advert for me a bit. Just a bit. Overall I was hoping for something special but this seems like it would be quite forgettable after awhile.

Grade: B-

Visa – The Heart

Verdict: Now this Visa advert makes up for the Gillette one above. Zero verbal narration in this advert and that was a wise-choice. The visual art direction, the acting and the thumping heartbeat in the background alone makes this a great advert. Part of me is a bit squeamish about the heart valve look but its emphasis is pretty crystal clear. You can view the rest of the VISA Olympics campaign here.  But I’m curious as to who the guy is. Is that an actor or an actual athlete? Google isn’t telling me much either but whoever he is did his part well too.

Grade: A

Under Armour – Rule Yourself

Verdict: In case you can’t tell from the facial-rug on his mug, that’s Michael Phelps in this advert by Under Armour, an American clothing brand that I had never heard of prior to this ad. I think this advert was done wonderfully. It shows Michael going through the motions, gym, therapy, rest, training and all the rest and in watching the varied transitions, I realised something. Being an Olympian must be so damn hard! The rigorous training, the hawk-like concentration and the formidable discipline must be so intense. I think I caught a cramp just from watching him. But I love the art direction and narrative, another reminder that arguably the greatest Olympian living is competiting in their final Olympics. Here’s hoping he does himself and his loved ones proud. *Salutes the closest form to Poseidon we have on this side of the universe*

Grade: A-

Procter & Gamble – Thank You, Mum

Verdict: Can’t fault this one. Brilliant advert, again another reminder of how much of an important role mothers play in shaping how their children grow up and pursue their goals in life. Was good to see different points of view from both sons & daughters. I won’t spoil it, definitely worth a watch. Another lovely ad for P&G. I expect nothing less.

Grade: A-

McDonalds Australia – Friends Win

Verdict: Wondering what it was those children were chanting? “Oi amigo, tudo bem”, which according to the Internet, is “Hello Friend, how are you?” in Portuguese. Those kids are brushing up on their linguistics so they can participate in the McDonald’s Olympics Kids Program which this year is sending 100 kids to play a role in the Opening Ceremony. Considering McDonalds has forever been a brand partner and sponsor of the games, this is a nice gesture, but I’m kind of surprised they haven’t done this before. Although I could be wrong. How cute were those kids though?

Grade: B

Team GB – Bring On The Great

Verdict: Great patriotic tribute to the GB team. Cannot wait to see how our boys & girls do in Rio. This advert’s nice because it brings together the aspects everyday Brits and the athletes themselves. The people coming together to champion their team on. There’s a build-up on enthusiasm that isn’t overwhelming but isn’t flighty either.

Grade: B

Special Olympics 2016 – I’am Your Fan

Verdict: This is a beautiful advert. I don’t want to spoil too much of it except the soon-to-be father in the beginning of this ad has a vision of what they hoped their child would be. What the child actual became in reality was something far more than what the father even imagined. The ending is quite touching.

Grade: A-

Lacoste – Support With Style

Verdict: Stylish. Interesting concept and the choreography was quite good. But I felt a little lost with what this advert was trying to do. Obviously Lacoste are there to push their product more than anything but it just still felt a bit, well…odd. Maybe that’s what they were going for?

Grade: B-

Nike – Just Do It Greece

Verdict: This is more like it. It’s a great short piece of cinematography. Good build-up with a nice crescendo too. Great narrative and the athletes looked like modern Greek Gods in the midst of that derelict stadium. I like the line “We will not be undone by what is broken”. Now that is a memorable, ‘bring it on’ line.

Grade: A-

Team Canada – Ice In Our Veins

Verdict: Speaking of Greek Gods, what’s the Canadian equivalent? Because I swear I think that’s what I just watched. This ad had it all. Epic scenery, epic narrative, epic action shots. I mean if the Canadian Team actually trained like that all the time then the rest of us may as well go home, because they got this. Give them all the awards already. Plus I love the tagline “Ice in our veins”. These are not you’re polite, kind, apologetic Canadians. These lot mean business.

Grade: A

Always – #LikeAGirl – Keep Playing

Verdict: Always via P&G have a winner with their “Like A Girl” campaign that’s been running for quite a while now and they’ve taken a crack at applying their winning formula to the Olympics. It’s actually quite shocking how a lot of girls don’t compete in sports because of what society may need acceptable for them. Sod that. Girls are just as capable as men and I bet alot of them would put certain guys to shame too. Nice advert, great hearing the views of those girls.

Grade: B

USA Swimming – #SwimUnited

Verdict: Hehe this is a wonderful advert. Whoever thought of using home movies from Olympic athletes childhoods of them competing was on to something. It was like being on a quick stroll down memory lane with them. Seeing them do so well when little only to do even better as they’ve grown and compete on the world stage. And yes, Phelps arms were just as lanky then as they are now.

Grade: A-

VISA – The Carpool to Rio

Verdict: How the hell did VISA managed to make carpooling look cool? Damn. This advert features quite an amount of prominent athletes, including but not limited to, Valerie Adams, Missy Franklin, Ashton Eaton & Kerri Walsh Jennings. Looked like quite a fun journey (I know its an ad, no way a carpool journey THAT long would be fun). Ohh yeah plus there was something about contactless VISA payments or something?

Grade: B

Gatorade – Never Lose The Love

Verdict: Hahaha I really liked this advert. Featuring the likes of Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, April Ross and Paul George, who see them prepping for their respective sports with none other than….themselves. Well, a much younger version of themselves. It’s entertaining and exciting to watch. I think it’s quite good for a Gatorade ad. Definitely one of the best Olympic ads I’ve seen so far.

Grade: A

Samsung Mobile – The Chant

Verdict: Can always trust Samsung to do a blinding advert. This was a pleasant one to watch. Loved the story of Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan who is the very first of her country, South Sudan, to compete in the Olympics. Talk about legacy building. Watch the video to see how the whole country follows her on her journey. Also, spoiler alert (not really), there’s product placement! Although those wireless earbuds look pretty nifty. But a lil’ big…

Grade: A+

BBC Sport – The Greatest Show on Earth

Verdict: Another fabulous advert from BBC Sport. Coming hot off their Euro 2016 advert (which was equally fabulous) this advert takes a different route. It’s all CGI with a wonderful story narrative and a great backing track. Seeing the animals become the athletes themselves is a fun concept which got me even more excited about the games. Can’t say about a bad thing about this.

Grade: A

Coca Cola – Gold Actions

Verdict: It’s a shame that at the moment of writing this I couldn’t find a more hi-res version of the advert. I like how it features a number of young athletes from all over and Coca Cola is really running with their new ‘Taste The Feeling’ tagline. But for some reason I find it a bit lacklustre. Can’t exactly pinpoint why but I don’t think there’s anything particular special about it. You can view the rest of the Coca Cola Olympic ad campaign here.

Grade: B-

Channel Four – We’re The Superhumans

Verdict: Now THIS is an advert! Channel 4 went all out with this one. What a joy to watch. Really none of us have any excuses not to be doing more. If these guys can tear up the script like that and really achieve then anyone can. Provided you have the ambition and believe in yourself. This had everything in it, dancing, racing, tackles, eye-candy, humour, passion, empowerment. I mean damn! I think the Paralympics this year is gonna be mad-crazy and I can’t wait to check it out.

Grade: A+


Bonus Round

Thorpedo Pool Cleaning – The Olympics for Small Business

Verdict: Hahahaha yes that really is Ian Thrope. Boy looks good though, don’t he? Plus you’re probably wondering if this advert is for real or a totally spoof…..well….

Grade: B

Samsung – The Anthem

Verdict: Gorgeous advert that brings together people are every nationality together in unison. Blending all those different anthems into one harmonious combination is quite clever and almost enchanting. I haven’t really got a bad thing to say about this advert, although I don’t think it’s Samsung’s strongest Rio 2016 related ad.

Grade: B+

Samsung School of Rio – A New Team

Verdict: I do love Jack Whitehall. I honestly think he’s one of the funniest young comedians we have at the moment. Ever watched Bad Education? But I’m getting off-topic. Whitehall is featured in a sleuth of Samsung Rio adverts, this is just the intro. Nothing over the top or flashy, just Jack being his typical self. I like the advert for that reason alone. But not everyone will be into Whitehall. Kinda like Marmite (which is ironic because I can’t touch that stuff). You can view his other Samsung spots here, here and here!

Grade: B

United – One Journey, Two Teams

Verdict: Wow. I’m glad I watched this advert. This is probably the best one out of the lot, if not one of the best. I loved how much was packed into just one minute. It’s an advert with an high-octane energy and action-packed. If you’re familiar with the US team, you’d see certain faces in this advert, including Kerri Walsh Jennings, Carli Lloyd, Missy Franklin, Ashton Eaton. This year also marks 35 years since United has been the official airline for both US Olympic teams. So the ad video is a great tribute to their partnership and really ramps up the anticipation in this coming games.

Grade: A+

US Soccer ft. Ritz – Crystal Dunn: Short Story

Verdict: This is a sweet little animated ad-video campaign that selected a few American athletes and gives them a chance to tell their stories. In this on you’ll see Crystal Dunn talk about how coming of age story in regards to soccer and herself as a person and athlete. Not bad, one that I think would appeal to the younger generation. You can view the others here on Youtube.

Grade: B-

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