Just like the Super Bowl in America, the Olympics serve as prime airtime for commercials. Some even find the adverts during the Olympics as engaging and inspiring as some of games (here’s looking at you, dressage). In fact, NBC recently announced that it hit a record of $1.2 billion in advance ad sales for these 31st Olympic games. But the best of these commercials strike a balance between selling a product and capitalizing on the heart within these games. Here are our top five commercials from the Olympics so far.
5. Coca-Cola, “Together Is Beautiful”
Coke has always had seasonal and timely ads—from the adorable penguins and polar bears during the holidays to this multicultural representation of America for the Olympics. In this 60-second spot, “America The Beautiful” is sung in a number of different languages while cameras pan across National Parks and sprawling vistas. The commercial also shows the ranges of people who call America home, donning hijab and yarmulkes, whose skin appears in a variety of shades. But throughout, these friends and families share this classically American fizzy drink, proving (as the brand claims) that “Together is Beautiful.”
4. Mini, “Defy Labels”
Like the cars themselves, Mini accomplishes a lot with a little in this brief 30-second spot. American athletes like Jake Gibb, Morghan King, Carlos Balderas, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and more spit out the one term that they’ve been reduced to in their descriptions—cancer patient, small, immigrant, Muslim. And then, legendary tennis star Serena Williams appears declaring, “The only label that matters is Olympian.” The brevity is so successful in its poignancy.
3. Nike, “Unlimited Together”
Chance the Rapper
blends free verse with imagery from “America, The Beautiful” in this stark, black and white Nike commercial. Combing music, branding, sports, and team unity, they send a powerful message to our Olympians abroad in Rio: “We the people would like you to know: wherever you go, we’re right by your side.”
2. Folgers, “Coach”
Folgers takes a different approach with this commercial. Rather than spotlighting the incredible athletics of the Olympics, the coffee company focuses on the relationship between a coach and a little boy as he grows up to compete for Team USA. Our eyes aren’t watering; it’s just mediocre coffee steam in our eyes.
1. Apple, “The Human Family”
Apple does it again. The ad shows the photo and video possibilities of the most current, snazzy iPhone. Apple shows these swaths of humanity in its trademarked clean, white-framed style, but Maya Angelou reading excerpts from her poem “Human Family” make this campaign a tear-jerker. Angelou concludes,
I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.
As the late poet, activist, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient repeats that final refrain, she manages to capture the spirit of these games in their truest sense. Read the complete poem here.