Companies have shelled out millions to advertise during NBC’s Olympic broadcast. According to IAG, a Nielsen firm that uses an online panel to track the performance of advertising, the big winners so far include Coca-Cola, General Electric and Visa.
Coca-Cola’s whimsical ad dubbed “Bird’s Nest” was one of the best-remembered and most-liked commercials during the first week of NBC’s prime-time Olympic coverage, according to IAG. The spot features birds making a nest that is modeled after the Olympic stadium in Beijing. The animated creatures make their new home out of straws swiped from Coke bottles and containers.
Emotional ads are a “natural fit” for the Olympics because it matches the content, says John Norman, an executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam. “The Olympics are always full of heartfelt and underdog stories about the athletes. It’s what resonates with most consumers,” says Mr. Norman, who worked on Coke’s “Bird’s Nest” ad.
Marketers have a lot riding on these ads. Media buyers say the price tag for 30 seconds worth of ad time during the primetime broadcast reached $750,000, although many marketers got better rates by buying large ad packages that cost upward of $5 million. NBC, part of General Electric, says it has brought in more than $1 billion in advertising revenue for the Beijing Games.
About 100 different advertisers are using the NBC program to peddle their products. Some advertisers are simply running ads that have already been on the air for months. Others, such as UAL’s United Airlines, have used the widely watched Games to kick off new ads for their brands that don’t tie directly into the event.
Source: The Wall Street Journal