As Tokyo remains under a COVID-19 state of emergency, the Olympic Games will look a lot different than years past.
There will be no fans in the stands, eliminating the need for local, on-ground activations. Toyota also pulled all of its Olympics TV commercials in Japan — a bold move for one of the games’ top global corporate sponsors.
Despite the uncertainty, many brands are standing strong with their decision to air ads during the Olympic Games, especially in the U.S., which is across the world from the controversy on the ground. From Nike and Facebook to Canon and GE, brands still have faith that the global event can unite people together — and with their brands.
Campaign US rounded up some of our favorite creative work from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee “What Agnes Saw”
The International Olympic Committee reflected on a century of the Olympics through the eyes of Agnes Keleti, the oldest-living Olympic champion. Keleti was an Olympic hopeful at age 19, but was forced to flee Nazi persecution during World War II. She returned to compete after her 30th birthday and won five Olympic gold medals. Along the way, she witnessed historic moments, such as Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Games.
The spot, part of the Olympics’ “Stronger Together” digital campaign, ends with the youngest-ever British Olympian, 13 year-old skateboarding prodigy Sky Brown, as she prepares to compete.
Nike “Best Day Ever”
“Best Day Ever,” part of Nike’s “Play New” campaign, examines how sports can create a powerful tomorrow for champions and everyday athletes.
The short film, created by Wieden + Kennedy, features athletes including Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Diede de Groot, A’ja Wilson, Lebron James, Serena Williams and Sha'Carri Richardson, who was recently banned from competing in the games after testing positive due to marijuana use.
“Tomorrow, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce becomes the first woman to run 100m in under 10 seconds,” the narrator says. “Tomorrow, wheelchair tennis legend Diede de Groot debuts her namesake video game. Tomorrow, A’ja Wilson convinces world leaders to declare sport a human right.”
The spot also offers nods Naomi Osaka and Olympians’ mental health, the WNBA and all of the everyday athletes working toward their dreams.
Oreo “Fiercely Together”
Oreo’s “Fiercely Together” spotlights athletes from opposing teams singing along to the classic children’s song “The More We Get Together.” The competitors put their rivalries aside to celebrate their shared love of Oreos.
Facebook “Longboard Family”
Facebook celebrated skateboarding’s Olympic debut with a visual love letter to the sport. “Longboard Family,” created by Droga5 and directed by FKA Twigs, shows how a skateboarding group uses the Facebook App to stay connected. Group members practice their moves and encourage each other’s technique from Los Angeles, to Barcelona to Seoul, thanks to the app.
Navy Federal Credit Union “Car Wash”
Navy Federal Credit Union’s “Car Wash,” created by MullenLowe U.S., reimagines what life would be like for military members and families without the credit union. In the spot, which will run during the Olympics, a man and his friend are in a drive-through car wash. The man explains how Navy Federal Credit Union helped him get an affordable car loan. “I can’t imagine where I’d be without them,” he says. In the next scene, the man and his friend are in the car wash — without a car — before hot wax starts to pour on them. The man snaps back to reality, grateful for Navy Federal Credit Union.
Canon “One Image”
Canon’s “One Image” shows how the power of a single photo can inspire the next generation of athletes. In the spot, a girl practices basketball on the court while a poster of an NBA star hangs in her bedroom. A boy goes for a swim while a framed photo of a swimmer sits on his desk. Another boy skateboards, fueled with inspiration from a skateboarding poster.
Tonal, an at-home strength training machine, tapped Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion Sue Bird for its “Greatness” campaign, created by R/GA Austin. The spot, which will air before the Tokyo Olympics, shows how Bird uses Tonal to help her train. Bird, who is also a brand ambassador, shares how Tonal changes the rules on “what a champion should look like.”
GE “New Perspective”
GE’s “New Perspective”, created by BBDO New York, is an ode to people who
“see things just a little bit differently.” The campaign features real GE employees who are working to build a more sustainable future around the world.
“Because seeing a smarter, healthier, cleaner world isn’t something that’s far in the future,” the narrator says. “It’s something we’re building now.”
The spot is a nod to GE’s tagline, “Building a world that works,” which debuted in September 2020.