Rio 2016 Olympics: the campaigns vying for gold

With the Rio 2016 Olympics underway, Campaign takes a look at the best (and worst) campaigns from the brands and official sponsors eager to capitalise on the world's biggest sporting event.


Apple aired its latest "Shot on iPhone" ad during the Olympics opening ceremony. The spot shows various photos of diverse people taken by iPhone users and is set to a recording of Maya Angelou reading her poem "Human family".


The auto brand pretends to be the world’s worst sponsor as it pranks Team GB athletes and asks them to do comical things like "steer yourself into your starting position" to promote the Nissan Leaf.


The comedian Jack Whitehall has returned for the latest instalment in Samsung’s "School of…" campaign. This time he gets schooled by Olympic greats including Bradley Wiggins, Steve Redgrave and Ellie Simmonds in a series of five spots that promote Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones.


The latest ad in Nike’s "Unlimited" campaign stars US athlete Chris Mosier, the first transgender competitor to make the US national team.

In other activity, the brand featured Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers in a graphic outdoor campaign displayed around Amsterdam. Schippers, who set her sights on winning gold this summer, was depicted bursting out of blocks wearing Nike’s new Unlimited Colourway range.

National Lottery

A long-time Team GB sponsor, the National Lottery is highlighting its role in funding grassroots and professional sports in its "I am Team GB" campaign. The activity includes an animated film that shows a stream of animated lottery tickets flying through Britain, transforming amateur athletes into professionals.

Channel 4

Channel 4 has released a sequel to its Cannes Grand Prix-winning "Meet the superhumans" campaign for the Paralympic Games. The ad features 120 people with disabilities, including members of the public alongside Paralympic athletes. The soundtrack is Sammy Davis Jr’s Yes I Can, recorded by a band of disabled musicians from around the world. The spot was created by 4Creative, Channel 4’s in-house team, and directed by Dougal Wilson through Blink.


DFS is promoting its sponsorship of Team GB with a film starring cyclist Laura Trott, gymnast Max Whitlock and swimmer Adam Peaty, as well as some of the brand’s own craftspeople. The work features "Britannia, the great British sofa", made especially for the team.


"#ThatsGold" by Ogilvy & Mather Brazil builds on Coca-Cola’s "Taste the feeling" campaign by comparing Olympic athletes’ gold medal wins with people’s everyday joyful moments. The ads will feature 79 Olympic athletes from 23 countries. Coke has been an Olympic sponsor since 1928.


The BBC has begun promoting its coverage of the Rio Games with an ad in which animated wild animals gradually transform into human athletes. The spot, created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, is set to the track "Not gonna break me" by British artist Jamie N Commons.


Aldi, the first official supermarket partner to Team GB, is championing the team in the build-up to Rio with a video that shows British suppliersfgh coming together to provide athletes in training with great produce. The discount retailer is also extending its sponsorship from Rio 2016 up to Tokyo 2020.


BP’s campaign features Olympic champions and focuses on the theory that athletes have a certain energy within that propels them to the top of their game.


Gillette shows the dark side of training for the Olympics. Athletes including footballer Neymar and British cyclist Andy Tennant push through physical and emotional pain in an ad made by Grey New York, which features a new remix by Sia.


Visa, the payment services sponsor of the Olympic Games, invites a comparison between its unfailing services and the beating heart of an athlete. Saatchi & Saatchi London created the ad, which mixes shots of an athlete’s training regime in the run-up to the Olympic Games with images of a heart beating inside someone’s chest.


Lacoste launched a "support with style" music video that is designed to be an energetic showcase of the "spirit, style and elegance" of Lacoste. The clothing brand, which is a partner of CNOSF (French National Olympic and Sports Committee), hired choreographers I Could Never Be A Dancer to direct the film, which follows a troupe of passionate supporters through Paris. Music is performed by French electro group The Shoes.

Procter & Gamble

P&G is honouring the emotional strength involved in motherhood in its 2016 Olympics campaign. The new film, "Strong", is part of the FMCG giant’s 10-year sponsorship of both the winter and summer Games, under the umbrella title "Thank you Mum". The campaign started in the run-up to London 2012 and will continue up to Tokyo 2020.


Adidas creative director Stella McCartney has designed the Team GB and Paralympics GB kit in her signature modern design aesthetic. The design features a unique British coat of arms that has been specially created to act as a unifying symbol across the two teams and multiple sports.


Olympic sponsor Panasonic is celebrating Great Britain's army of superfans in its Rio 2016 campaign. The brand is calling on UK sports lovers to show their support for the nation’s athletes on social media by sharing "fun and passionate, wild and wacky" photos with the hashtag #superfans.


Team GB official sponsor Kellogg’s is running a #GreatStarts campaign that recreates iconic Hollywood wake-up scenes from films including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, featuring past British Olympic medal winners Sir Steve Redgrave, Rebecca Adlington and Louis Smith. Activity includes a user-generated content competition in which people will be encouraged to share their great starts for a chance to win a trip to Rio to see the Games.

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free