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After a year’s delay to the Tokyo Olympics 2020, it’s been an unusual start for sponsors’ campaigns. Here, as part of our Sports Marketing Deep Dive, The Drum pulls together this year’s creative contestants as they push off the starting line in their race for attention.

From major global sponsors to the small and local, the Olympics attracts some of the best creative activations from brands. Years in the making – although delayed for an additional year thanks to the pandemic – the activity of the brands is an important part of the fanfare. 

We will be updating the below round-up of the latest brand campaigns throughout the competition, which will take place in Tokyo between July 23 and August 8.

The National Lottery ‘When you play a little, you help our athletes a lot’

National Lottery operator Camelot has launched a humorous ad that plays on the fact that some funds from sales go directly towards supporting elite athletes, including Olympic competitors. The ad shows a series of playful situations in which the public are helping athletes train, including taekwondo athlete Lutalo Muhammad smashing through the image of a wedding picture donated by a presumably recently divorced woman. 

The ad will run across TV, radio, digital and high-impact OOH, while many National Lottery assets will now have the Team GB and ParalympicsGB branding added.

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Coca-Cola India ‘Thumbs Up Tokyo 2020’

Coca-Cola India brand Thumbs Up has launched a campaign to celebrate India’s 100th year participating in the competition. 

The ad shows athletes turning their bottles upside down, turning the icon of the Thumbs Up into a visual symbol of grit and determination. The brand says the ad is celebrating everyday heroism – something it hopes will resonate with the Indian population, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

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SK-II ‘VS’

SK-II Studio has returned with animated anthology series ‘VS’.

It features top Olympic athletes including gymnast Simone Biles, swimmer Liu Xiang, tennis player Ishikawa Kasumi, badminton duo Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo, surfer Mahina Maeda and Japan’s women’s national volleyball team.

SK-II’s f­­irst-of-its-kind series aims to inspire every woman with the message they have the power to #ChangeDestiny.

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P&G ‘Lead with Love’

Five years after Procter and Gamble (P&G) unveiled its Rio masterpiece ‘Thank You Mom’, which celebrated the mothers behind Olympic and Paralympic champions, it is now gearing up for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games, with the Tide and Always owner looking to reduce viewers to tears once more by shining its spotlight on parents.

The FMCG giant has unveiled a multi-brand campaign inspired by the many Olympic and Paralympic athletes who are not only achieving athletic greatness, but are also committing to acts of good and making a positive difference in their communities.

Feeding into P&G’s wider ‘Lead with Love’ push, these sporting proteges are the stars of two new films marking the FMCG brand’s Olympic partnership.

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BBC ‘Let’s Go There’

In anticipation of the BBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 across TV, radio and online, BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative agency, teamed up with Nexus Studios and Factory Fifteen to create a dynamic trail that magically reimagines the vibrant host city.

In the trail, Tokyo has been taken over by the Olympics with street signs, shops, an arcade, Gashapon parlor, a sports fanatic’s bedroom and a J-Pop music video all jam-packed with references to Olympic sports, athletes and even BBC presenters.

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United ‘It’s Time to Let Yourself Fly’

American airline and Team USA sponsor United has launched a campaign that aims to link the anticipation of competing in the Olympics with a return to travel. Under the tagline ’Time to Let Yourself Fly’, the hero creative is a 30-second spot that features key American athletes, set in an air hangar. According to United, the athletes in the video were all chosen for their “shared values of ambition, excellence, diversity and unity on a global stage”.

As well as the ads, United will be featuring signage across its terminals and launching a set of special edition amenity and pajama kits on flights.

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Check out The Drum’s Sports Marketing hub for more on how the marketing industry can score long-term success through association with sport.