Rio 2016 – and the winner is: Out Of Home!

//Rio 2016 – and the winner is: Out Of Home!

Rio 2016 – and the winner is: Out Of Home!

After the 2012 Olympic games in London, the media sector with the highest growth in Media Spend was Out Of Home – up more than 30% year-on-year in the period including the London Olympics. We have yet to receive the post Rio 2016 media spend, but by all indications, Out Of Home proved its worth again during this year’s Olympics, combining traditional static displays with the latest in Digital Out Of Home offerings to great effect.

A Digital ad in New York Times Square during this year’s Olympics:


Only the 12 official sponsors are allowed to use the phrases “Rio”, “Olympic”, “gold” and “Games”. The money received from the official sponsors provide most of the funds to run the Games every 4 years. They get very little on-site branding inside the stadium and no branding on the sport outfits worn by the athletes – which means that they need the high-profile advertising featuring Olympians.

An Olympic advert by one of the official sponsors:

It is a great creative challenge to advertise a non-sponsor during the Olympics, and remain relevant.

This was achieved by the creative team on the Dove account. The campaign used Out Of Home, quoting the sexist comments made by media outlets about female athletes. Digital Out Of Home was the perfect platform for this controversial campaign. As the sexist comment appears on the screen over the images of women playing sport, the athletes in the advert fades away. The implication being that, if you focus on the athlete’s looks, you do not see her at all.

The powerful Dove billboard campaign:

Out of Home has been part and parcel of Olympic campaigns over the years.

In 1932, the Olympics were held in Los Angeles. This was during the Great Depression, at which time no other city made a bid to host the event. Many nations and athletes were unable to attend, with fewer than half of the participants from the 1928 Olympics that took place in Amsterdam, taking part.

A billboard from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles:

During the 1984 Olympics, Nike chose to do a bold and memorable campaign, with a focus placed on the physical body stretched to the max, featuring Olympic athletes like Carl Lewis and Mary Decker. Their own brand was very low key – a small logo in the corner of each ad.

The Nike Olympic billboard campaign of 1984:

From this billboard campaign, a TV commercial was created featuring Randy Newman’s popular song ‘I Love L.A.’, and also featuring the iconic Nike billboards – click here to view the commercial.

Taking the use of Out Of Home to a whole new level this year were two media owners who teamed up with their national teams, and in so-doing, raised the profile of Out Of Home advertising internationally. They are Ocean Outdoor, teaming up with the Olympic team of Great Britain, and APN Outdoor teaming up with their national Australian Olympic team.

In Great Britain, exposure was broadcast from Rio daily during the Olympics, in six minute slots, for 11 hours each day. This was acompanied by a live Instagram feed from Great Britain’s team – combining digital and social media platforms to great effect.

A digital screen on New Street in Birmingham during the Olympics:

APN Outdoor partnered up with Team Australia in January this year already, thus being able to broadcast the road to the Olympics, as well as giving almost live updates during the Olympic Games. This partnership is already signed up for the next Olympics taking place in Tokyo 2020.

The Outdoor Campaign in Australia included team selection, announcement of flag bearers, medal updates, social feeds as well as a running leaderboard. This is groundbreaking OOH exposure and puts the media in a whole new league.

Anneliese Rubie in front of a billboard announcing her inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Team:

Live Twitter Feeds worked extremely well on these portrait digital sites, keeping
the Australian audience up to date with what’s going on in Rio:

Announcing Australia’s first Gold Medal this year, won by Mack Horton for his great win in the 200m Freestyle:

Meanwhile, back in Rio 2016 the Olympic organising committee announced that they were partnering up with Dentsu Aegis Network’s Posterscope Brazil, to handle their Out Of Home campaigns leading up to and during the event. A total adspend of #131M was allowed for this campaigning, according to Maquina Do Esporte. Out Of Home was used to create the atmosphere for the event, and in so doing, to prepare Rio for the influx of close on 1 million tourists. During the event, Posterscope Brazil also had a team of 25 to 30 people keeping an eye out to ensure that the official sponsors received the advertising rights promised to them – by policing, and reporting any Out Of Home advertising by non-sponsors during this time.

Placement of an official Rio 2016 ad in the subways:


There has been a softening around the regulations for advertising by companies that are not official sponsors, as long as it does not create the impression of a commercial association with the Olympic Games, and campaigns had to be up and running by late March if they wanted airtime during the Olympics.

Virgin Media taking advantage of the slackening of the advertising rules, with this campaign on the theme of ‘Be The Fastest’ connecting Bolt’s fastest speed with the fast broadband speeds offered by Virgin Media. Compliance for the campaign was already cleared in January, and it gained the right to run these ads throughout the Olympic Games. The campaign was run in the UK utilising TV, Sunday Newspapers, billboards, and social media.

Virgin Media billboard on Pershore Road, Birmingham with Usain Bolt and Sir Richard Branson:


In conclusion:
The Olympics provided the perfect opportunity for Out Of Home Media to show that this media can be original, and newsworthy. The integration of Out Of Home with Digital campaigns was seamless, bringing home the importance of integrating campaigns from an early stage of campaign planning.

Placement of Digital Out Of Home in key strategic positions in major cities across the globe is becoming a key development strategy for Outdoor Media Owners, in order to reach mobile consumers who are active on social media and other online platforms and who are reducing their time spent in front of a television.

With TV ratings coming down, and Olympic Ratings showing a 15% drop from London, all eyes are on Millennials and how to reach them.

The average age of TV viewership is increasing:


Statistics show that Out Of Home is the only Above The Line Medium with Global Growth 2016 – 2017:


Source: MAGNA

TV viewer age is increasing, as millenials choose to stream.
More than half of the 50 million viewers who streamed the Rio 2016 coverage were under the age of 35.
With the increased risk to reach audiences on TV, media spend will be moving to online and Out Of Home at an increasing pace.

Contact us for an in-depth discussion about your marketing strategy, and how Out Of Home can be used to your benefit.

By | 2018-03-10T15:11:33+00:00 August 31st, 2016|Newsletters|0 Comments

About the Author:

Margie Carr
Margie Carr has been involved in various aspects of the Out Of Home world in South Africa since 1995, and established In Touch Outdoor in 2002, growing the company to an accredited specialist media agency in 2015 along with her dedicated team. She is passionate about Outdoor Advertising. Margie spends her time strategising for clients, growing her marketing skills, writing articles and painting whenever she gets the time.

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