PyeongChang 2018: What to Watch For During the Winter Olympics

Posted by Anna Keagy on February 9, 2018


Remember the “Miracle on Ice” by the U.S. hockey team against the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics?

How about the Jamaican bobsled team making its first Olympics and becoming a crowd favorite in the 1988 Olympics (and later memorialized in the film Cool Runnings)?

What about Tara Lipinski winning her gold medal in figure skating in the 1998 Olympics when she was only 15 years old?

These are just a few of the many iconic moments in Winter Olympic history. Starting this week, athletes from around the world are hoping to create iconic moments of their own in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Meanwhile, brands across a wide range of industries are hoping to make their own mark during the Olympics with unique and impactful marketing campaigns.


Facts about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics

The Olympics give host countries a chance to gain huge exposure in the international community and give Olympic viewers the opportunity to learn about a city that often might be unfamiliar to them. A few tidbits about the PyeongChang Olympics:

  • This is the second time South Korea has hosted the Olympics: the 1988 Summer Olympics were in Seoul.
  • Have you noticed the host city written two different ways: Pyeongchang and PyeongChang? Local officials have rebranded the host city with a capital “C” in the middle to avoid confusion with a very similar sounding city in North Korea, Pyongyang. Some news outlets seem to be going with the rebranded version, while others are sticking with the original version.
  • The slogan for the Winter Olympics is “Passion. Connected.” The slogan alludes to the excitement of the Olympic spirit, Korean hospitality and Korea’s cutting-edge technology.
  • South Korea has developed a high-speed rail line to allow travel from Seoul to the isolated PyeongChang in less than an hour.


Notable Athletes

The Olympics is filled with exceptional athletes, each with a unique background and story. Here are a few to watch for these Olympics:

Shaun White – This is the snowboarding legend’s fourth Olympics. After a devastating snowboarding accident in October, the prospects of Shaun White making another Olympics looked slim. However, in spectacular fashion, he went on to qualify with a breathtaking perfect 100 score.

Mikaela Shiffrin – At age 22, Mikaela Shiffrin has the potential to become the first American woman to win three medals in skiing at one Olympics. Shiffrin is a medal favorite in slalom, giant slalom and alpine combined, and could be a contender in downhill and super-G.

Maame Biney – As one of the youngest members of Team USA (age 18), Maame Biney is also the first African-American female speedskater to qualify for the Olympics. Biney’s reaction to making the short track Olympic team is endearing. She’s received praise from retired short track speed skater Apolo Ohno, and while Biney is not considered a top gold medal contender, she has the potential to pull an upset.


Notable Campaigns

Around three-quarters of Americans watch the Winter Olympics, according to a Bridgestone’s Winter Driving Survey. The widespread appeal and viewership of the Olympics make it a prime opportunity for brand marketing and many prominent brands are doing just that.

Alibaba Group – Chinese brand Alibaba Group is the official cloud and e-commerce provider of the games. The company launched its a global advertising campaign, “To the Greatness of Small,” showing how small acts can lead to greatness and how the underdog can achieve great things. The campaign includes three inspirational commercials. One is about Kenya’s amateur hockey team dreaming of the Olympics. Another is about an Olympic rower’s decision to pause mid-race to let a mother duck and her ducklings pass.

Visa – Visa has 54 athletes as members of its Olympic and Paralympic endorsement roster, and nearly all of them were part of a global campaign focusing on overcoming adversity and injuries in their journey for greatness. Some of the Olympians are in a new Visa brand film, with athletes sharing different cuts of the spot on social media leading up to its broadcast and online debut.

Procter & Gamble – And what would the Olympics be without one of Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” commercials to tug on your heart strings? For the Winter Olympics 2018, P&G is highlighting a mom’s role in helping her children overcome the world’s bias with its #LoveOverBias campaign.


With world-class athletes and history to be made, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics look to be one for the books. Enjoy the action!


Topics: consumer marketing, Branding, industry headlines