Brand Advertising Using the Olympics

As many of us saw during the opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, this past Friday, an error occurred involving the iconic five-ring symbol of the Olympics. Unfortunately, the last of the five rings was unable to open like the rest, leaving only four suspended in the stadium. The car company Audi has a four-ring logo: inspiring an enthusiastic fan to monopolize this opportunity and create an ad for the brand out of the Olympic fail.

audi ad

Although not created by the brand itself, this ad got quite a bit of publicity for its ingenuity. This was a great, perhaps coincidental, form of advertising for Audi. The ad is obviously embarrassing for Russia, but since the company did not create it themselves they cannot receive any backlash. Fan-created ads, although unofficial, can be very beneficial to any products or brands. It’s important that a company shows it is likeable enough to garner support from their consumers.

Despite Audi not creating that ad officially, another company took advantage of the opportunity. Planet Fitness, whose logo is a gear, tweeted this image:


They used their logo to represent the Olympic ring that didn’t open and looked quite similar. By using twitter and tweeting this ad in real-time as the accident happened it gathered more attention and publicity than it would have if they had taken longer to put the ad together. Companies need to stay on their toes in order to compete well with others, and those that use social media during such a giant world event such as the Olympics will be the ones who succeed.


Nudd, T. (2014, February 10). Here’s an Audi Ad That Should (but Won’t) Be Running During the Sochi Olympics | Adweek. Retrieved from

Twitter / PlanetFitness: That’s ok, Sochi. #Sochi2014 ... (2014, February 10). Retrieved from

Wilstein, M. (2014, February 10). Brilliant Audi Ad Mocking Sochi Olympic Rings Fail Is Probably Fake | Mediaite. Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “Brand Advertising Using the Olympics

  1. What an interesting result of globalization! As I was reading this, I just couldn’t help but think about how intertwined EVERYTHING is, and how that is why even an exclusively US brand could make use of something that happened in the olympics. It’s so interesting how shared experiences like this become such an asset when it comes to advertising.


  2. I love the Audi response to the Olympic rings. I believe real-time marketing is incredibly important, and very few brands get it right. While many global brands are seeking to achieve that “Oreo moment,” Audi did an amazing job in engaging their consumers in a timely and creative manner.


  3. As a mere audience/viewer/consumer, I completely agree with the view that these ads showcase some of human’s most creative and ingenious moments. There is a cause for concern, however. While it is true that Audi itself did not come up with this ad, it did attract lots of attention. What if the organizers did not know and thought it was Audi that actually did it? There seems to be no incidents between the IOC and Audi yet, but who knows, user-generated content could spark a controversy and end a business relationship in the future. Companies need to be more aware of this and be very careful.


  4. I enjoyed seeing these ads, I think that advertisements that are real time and extremely current are some of the most effective ways to get a message out. Even though the companies did not release these ads, like you said user generated advertisements and content can also be extremely helpful for a company.


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