Star Spangled Brands: Partnering with Olympians for Celebrity Marketing Campaigns


As symbols of national pride, Olympians hold special status with citizens, consumers and provide great partnership opportunity for brands.

Since the start of the Olympic Games, Olympic athletes have been seen as the standard of perfection. Olympians are elite athletes and medalists are revered by people across the globe.

During their time in the Olympic Games Team USA athletes become the face of our nation. They embody national pride and possess qualities and attributes all Americans strive to hold.

The huge amount of respect and honor they have earned and the role they play in forming and representing national character makes them an optimal partnership opportunity for brands.

Sportswear and athletic equipment giant Nike aims to position its brand with top notch gear that enables any person to reach greatness. To bolster this image of an elite brand of exceptional quality, they have partnered with many Olympic athletes who have earned the perception of greatness.

Nike partnered with 45 Olympic athletes from around the globe. They have major partnerships with some of the bigger name medal winners, such as tennis player Serena Williams. Nike’s alliance with Williams is far reaching, encompassing video ads, billboards and her own product collection. Williams is one of the pieces in Nike’s ‘Unlimited’ campaign that launched around the Rio 2016 Olympics.

These top notch athletes have helped Nike gain and retain their image of the world-class sporting goods brand.

While Olympians may be an obvious fit for sports brands, they have also been used in unrelated industries.

Hershey’s Chocolate entered a deal with the now most-decorated American gymnast, Simone Biles, as a part of their larger ‘Hello From Home’ campaign. The brand aired an emotional spot with Biles prior to the Rio 2016 Games.

Featuring Biles opening chocolate bars with letters from her family and friends, the ad brings to mind love and family. Hershey’s perfectly aligned their desired image of a caring and family-oriented brand with the message in the ad. They used Biles’ respected position with consumers and tied her to their product to achieve a positive public perception.

Not all brand partnerships with Olympic athletes occur in the few months immediately surrounding the Olympics. Olympians can advance a brand’s image long before the next Games begin.

The UK-based grocery store brand Aldi paired with two brothers and triathletes to create an integrated campaign for summer 2017. It uses the competitiveness associated with being one of the top athletes in the world to tie its brand name to competitively affordable pricing.

Aldi used the medal-winning Brownlee brothers to demonstrate that their brand is superior to the opponents, just as the brothers had proven of themselves in the Olympics.

photo credit: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport via Wikimedia Commons


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