The Verdict: #Wearewinter

Derek Kent, CMO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, on the preliminary results of the organization's largest-ever campaign.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games saw big numbers across TV and streaming screens as well as the largest-ever marketing effort from the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Operating under the tagline #Wearewinter, the campaign with media from OMD Canada and creative from Proximity, had more than double the budget of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, with over 1,000 billboards across the country, 160 restaurant video screens, 232 newspaper placements, two 60-second spots, four 30-second spots and eight online documentaries highlighting the athletes that participated in the Games, bonded together through creative focused on the cold weather necessary for the Winter Games.

Because the COC is a not-for-profit organization, the campaign relied primarily on donated media through partners like the CBC, Bell Media, Rogers Media, the Globe and Mail, Cineplex Entertainment and Twitter Canada, which marked the first-ever social media partnership for the COC.

In addition to being the largest campaign yet from the COC, Derek Kent, CMO, COC, says it was also the first to have a dedicated media team in place, which resulted in numbers like three million visitors going to versus 350,000 during the London Games.

“We had a deliberate strategy on the digital front, we invested in a digital team at the COC to build that up after London and heading into Sochi,” he says. “We also for the first time had a digital team in Sochi with community editors on the ground that were posting and sharing from the field. We also had “Golden Moments” where each time one of the athletes got a medal we created content that was easily shareable by fans and athletes.”

Other online metrics of note include the COC’s Facebook page ending the Games with over 400,000 fans (up 75% over 2013), 313,000 Twitter followers (up 600% versus 2013) and over 500,000 YouTube views (up 3,000% over 2013).

“As people say, every Games is declared the most social ever and this was no exception,” he says. “I think the Sochi Games more so than Vancouver was social at its core. If you look at our results and strategy, fans are gravitating towards digital and its important to have a linchpin connecting everything. We are really proud of the way the athletes, partners and Canadians got behind the program, it allowed people to feel like they were part of something bigger.”