Some Opening Ceremony Commercials Scored

While ratings for the opening ceremonies were down substantially compared to the previous Olympics, commercials from some advertisers were remembered and drew online responses, according to an analysis by Google.

Coca-Cola’s spots were the most remembered, with 35% saying they recalled seeing them. Other ads in the top five for being remembered were Samsung, Chevrolet, United and Visa.

Overall, Google said that only 40% of respondents who said they saw an ad could recall the product or service being advertised.

The ads that drove the most search activity were from McDonald’s, which were 42% above the average. Ads for BMW were 14% above average and Samsung were 12% higher than average.

Google said that the types of ads that drew the greatest responses were those that were inspiring, featured the product, were funny and aspirational.

Whether or not an advertiser was an official Olympic sponsor didn’t seem to matter much. Ads from Olympic sponsors increased the positive feeling about those brands by 17% among viewers who saw those ads during the opening ceremonies versus those who didn’t. For non-Olympic sponsors, ads created a 20% more positive feeling.

The results were similar with purchase intent. Those exposed to ads from sponsors during the opening ceremonies were up 14% compared to viewers who weren’t exposed, while for non-sponsors the lift in intent was 19%.

Google said that "94% of searches on Google and YouTube as a result of seeing the ads occurred on mobile devices."

“Commercials during large, live sporting events like the Olympics are often uniquely created to leverage both the scale of the audience and the context of the event. Whether it is telling the personal story of an athlete or playing to our passions like patriotism, they are intended to strike an emotional connection, entertain us, or make us stand up and take notice,” Google said.

And while “only about 8% of viewers can recall both the brand and product in a specific advertisement,” Google noted that “for many of the ads this was the first airing and it is reasonable to expect these numbers to improve substantially with increased exposure over the next couple of weeks.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.