How To Rebrand An Olympics

How To Rebrand An Olympics


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stewards one of the most famous brands in the world. So why does it need to advertise? As with every big brand, the Olympics wants to be top of mind in its category (major sporting events) to maximise its value. But it also wants to shape how its brand is perceived.

That’s behind last month’s shift from its classic slogan “Faster, Higher, Stronger” to “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”. Less likely to get a Daft Punk song stuck in your brain, but more relevant to solidarity, which the IOC sees as one of the virtues which makes the Olympics distinctive compared to other competitions.

The IOC has worked with Canadian agency Hulse & Durrell to develop and introduce the overall ‘Stronger Together’ branding, and it’s also enlisted creative agency Dirty Robber to make “What Agnes Saw”, a special film bringing the idea to life by stressing the connections between generations of Olympians.

The film stars the oldest living Olympian, gymnast Agnes Keleti, showing the 100 year old athlete’s reactions to some of the great Olympic moments in her lifetime, like Jesse Owens’ historic 1936 performances. It connects to the present day with 2021 Bronze medallist Sky Brown, who at only 13 is one of the youngest competitors at the games.

The film pulls out all the emotional stops to make you feel the significance of these Olympic achievements and that the new generation of athletes are part of this grand tradition – even if rock-climbing and skateboarding are not sports as the Ancient Greeks understood them! It’s a clever bit of positioning, emphasising both the way the Olympics continually evolve and the continuity between past and present. It’s that continuity the IOC particularly needs to reinforce with a Games so disrupted by COVID-19.

The result is a 5-Star feelgood commercial that’s one of the highlights of this Olympic ad season. Short-term Spike and Brand Fluency are less good, mostly because the IOC isn’t itself a particularly recognisable brand. But as a reminder of what the Games mean and the memories they provide, this is a podium finish and a job well done.



Creative agency credit: Dirty Robber and Hulse & Durrell