The 2018 Winter Olympics started last week in South Korea. As you probably would expect, the Summer Olympic games are more popular, so marketers have to get creative with the Winter games. Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn are the two American athletes with the most name recognition, but they do not come close to athletes in the summer games like Michael Phelps. Marketers have to try to close the gap and work on promoting winter athletes. So how do they do that?
NBC airs stories on specific athletes to gain attention. If you’ve watched the Olympics so far, guaranteed you know who Chloe Kim is. She’s a 17-year-old snowboarder who is the first female to land back to back 1080s and receive a perfect score. She qualified for the last Olympics when she was 13 but could not go due to age. She’s active on Twitter, tweeting things like “Could be down for some ice cream rn.” She’s someone people can relate to and in my personal opinion, is adorable.
We also have Mark McMorris who was in the hospital 11 months ago after a snowboarding accident. He had 17 broken bones, a collapsed lung, and was in a coma. He’s an inspiration because he could have easily not come back after that catastrophic accident. He won a bronze medal.
Shaun White is a comeback story. He didn’t win a single medal in the last winter Olympics but came back to prove himself. He had a comeback story and posted a 98.5 in qualification in the half-pipe. He is most likely going to win gold.
The way marketers highlighted the Winter Olympics was through the stories of the premier American athletes. They make them relatable, an underdog, or just someone the public wants to cheer for. And I would say that it worked.