Part 2: Brand performance during the Olympics: online achievements

The second of MiC's Olympic two-parter jumps to cyberspace for a play-by-play on online performances.

With the conclusion of the Olympics imminent, MiC thought it would be a good idea to discuss which brands were Olympic winners. So we turned to two media pundits to see how they scored the results.

Yesterday, media consultant Jeff Marchand of Priority Media gave us his take on TV’s Olympian sponsorships. In today’s conclusion to our two-part Olympic feature, Chris Williams, MD at Media Contacts, analyzes online performance, sharing his thoughts on who deserves the laurels.

‘Every Olympics season pushes online further and further into capitalizing on what’s possible in the online space’ – Chris Williams, MD at Media Contacts, Toronto:

Ever since Trojan Condoms launched the Trojan Games ( in 2003, the online Olympic experience has not been quite the same. It’s a shame that this campaign hasn’t been updated or repeated to coincide with every Olympic year. Note to marketers: when you find something that works, don’t stop.

This year, aside from the usual athletics, one of the Olympic stories is NBC covering the Games like never before with 2,200 hours of online video. Not only that, but the video is rolled out in the new Silverlight format from Microsoft. This allows for picture in picture and the ability to watch, on demand, four events at a time. Unfortunately, broadcast rights means that unless you are in the US, you won’t be able to view the online video coverage in Canada – unless you are spoofing your IP address or have a colleague in one of your US offices that allows you to remotely control their desktop (not that I am doing that!).

So what’s CBC up to? They’ve done an excellent job in the area of natural search. With 25 sports and all the accompanying jargon, plus a long list of athletes’ names, the Olympics are a search engine optimization expert’s dream.

I’ve been tracking a list of 50 keywords, all the sports and many of the Canadian athletes’ names, using a tool that hits search engines many times a day, gathering their coverage and rankings. CBC’s site ranks number one for natural search, beating and, the second- and third-ranked for this set of 50 words. Interesting, though, that they’ve not done any paid search. Here, the has done a better job of ensuring that they are front and centre gathering traffic to their site.

Another thing CBC could be doing to drive a more successful site is using rich media banner ads. The CBC could buy Canadian eyeballs on international sites through ad networks, exchanges and portals to drive more traffic to the CBC site, while reminding people online what is being currently broadcast on television.

On the whole, every Olympics season pushes online further and further into capitalizing on what’s possible in the online space. The ability to watch what you want when, where and on what platform you want improves the foundation of the CBC’s Olympic online product. What comes next is using the online space to maximize audience and sponsors’ brand value for all platforms.