Petro-Canada puts parents in the shoes of Olympians

The petrol company's sponsorship of the 2012 London Games includes ads that show its support for athlete family members.

If there’s a reoccurring theme to take from this year’s Olympic activations, acknowledging the supporters of athletes would most likely be it. P&G has been thanking athlete moms for their support, as has Petro-Canada in its own TV and online campaign that spotlights the parents of Canada’s Olympians.

“Dream Big” commercials, which began at the start of the Games, are running across Olympic Consortium channels with planning assistance from Media Dimensions. The creative was handled by TBWA\Toronto and shows parents of athletes not in the arena stands, but rather on the field in the place of their child.

“What we did was we focused on the core insight of when athletes are performing, it’s nerve racking for the parents and it’s almost like they’re there too,” Curtis Edwards, creative director, TBWA\Toronto, tells MiC.

Edwards explains that Petro-Canada’s objective when sponsoring the Olympics, which it has done since 1988, is to “bolster reputation and create separation from other oil and gas companies in Canada.”

He believes the company is able to do just that by focusing on family and creating an emotional connection by way of support programs, much like its Canadian Athlete Family Program (CAFP) which was created in 2010 to help ensure families are able to watch the athletes compete in-person. Over 500 family members were given the chance to watch the athletes live at the Vancouver Olympic Games as a result of the program.

“Most of the time these parents actually can’t go to the Games and they end up watching from the TV in their hotel room,” he says. “The creative is continuing on that theme of providing access to the Games.”

In addition to the TV and online advertising, the creative agency has also developed a Facebook page where stories from Team Canada’s athlete Karen Cockburn and Sergio Pessoa Jr. (featured in the TV spot) are shared and fans are asked to contribute to the Petro-Canada athletes’ fund.