Coke’s global marketing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will celebrate the “gold” moments fans around the world – not just medal-winning athletes – share each day.

The #ThatsGold campaign includes two TV commercials featuring archival footage from past Olympic Games. This is interspersed with images of some of the world’s top athletes enjoying gold moments both on and off the podium with a Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light/Diet, Coca-Cola Zero or Coca-Cola Life.

The campaign, which rolls out this month in 50 countries, also includes a series of print/outdoor ads showcasing more than 20 Olympians from around the world in authentic, everyday scenarios.

“Gold is a feeling anyone can taste,” said Rodolfo Echeverria, vice president of global creative at The Coca-Cola Company. “This creative draws a parallel between the gold moments these amazing athletes experience at the Olympics and the everyday moments of joy and uplift we all share with friends and family while drinking a Coca-Cola. From passing an exam, to getting your dad’s car keys for the first time, to celebrating a friend’s birthday - anything can be a gold moment as long as it’s spontaneous and authentic.”

#ThatsGold is an extension of Coke’s new “one-brand” marketing strategy, which unites all four Trademark Coke brands under the "Taste the Feeling" creative campaign.

Echeverria said the Olympic work, which was co-led by Coca-Cola marketing teams in Atlanta and Rio, “democratizes” the Olympic experience and portrays the Games in a more approachable way to teens and Millennials. “We’ve taken a slice-of-life approach to portraying these Olympians not only as incredible champions, but as young people who enjoy spending time and having fun with friends as much as we do,” he explains. “They will see their heroes performing on an out-of-this world level, but then say, ‘hey, he or she looks like my friend.’”

Coca-Cola North America athletes Ashton Eaton and Alex Morgan feature in the #ThatsGold campaign

Games-Time in Real-Time

Coca-Cola Olympic Station in Rio’s Praca Maua neighborhood will serve as an official hangout for teens to experience the Games on their terms with live music, athlete appearances, high-tech activations and, of course, ice-cold Coca-Cola. The renovated train depot will also house the Coca-Cola Rio 2016 newsroom, where a hand-picked group of global and bloggers and social media influencers will partner with Coke’s real-time marketing team to create and distribute Games-time content that defines what #ThatsGold means to them. The influencers – Australian stars Cody and Alli Simpson, Canadian actress and fashion blogger Allie Evans, and British YouTuber Jake Boys – will encourage their followers to celebrate their own “gold” moments on social media.  

“One thing we learned from the 2012 Olympic Games in London and 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is that teens don’t want to be spectators – they want to be active participants,” Pollard said. “The influencer program will engage them in what’s happening beyond what they see on TV and bring them into the Rio 2016 experience.”

Coca-Cola, an Olympic sponsor since 1928, is building on learnings from past Games in Rio. For example, the company piloted a similar real-time newsroom concept during its sponsorship of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and the team’s experience presenting the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour that year helped ensure the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay ran smoothly. Several Coca-Cola team members who worked on the FIFA World Cup are supporting the Games in Rio.

“This is a testament to the strength of both our longstanding partnership and our global system,” said Peter Franklin, group director, worldwide sports. “Some things we’ve done over the years have been very successful, so we do them again and again – like Pin Trading and the Torch Relay. And other activations like experiential marketing, which we first did at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, continue to evolve as we'll see next month at the teen-focused Coca-Cola Olympic Station. We’re able to continuously learn from the past and build on the experience with every Olympic Games.”