Olympians: Virgin & Bolt > Nestle & Daley > Hovis & Pendleton

There are several examples of London 2012 ambush campaigns that are simply fronted by future, current and past Olympians: three of the more interesting and high profile initiatives in recent months are the new Virgin Media broadband ads featuring track superstar Usain Bolt, Nestle’s‘Get Set, Go Free’ promotion backed by a phalanx of Olympians and Hovis’ New Year ‘Wholemeal Challenge’ spearheaded by gold medallist Victoria Pendleton.


The Virgin Media campaign is pretty straightforward – employing the most famous athlete on the planet (and most people’s favourite to be the stand out competitor at London 2012) to front an initiative that is all about ‘speed’.


Virgin’s message is simple – it is introducing the fastest broadband speeds into the UK, so it has employed the world’s fastest man as its brand ambassador.


Get Set, Go is a major UK-based sports and activity promotion with an integrated marketing campaign that spans TV, radio, press, outdoor, online, on-pack, in-store and experiential.


It is fronted by an impressive set of Olympians, including diver and great British London 2012 hope Tom Daley, rowers Matthew Pinsent and Peter Reid, wheelchair athlete Shelly Woods and swimmer Fran Halsall.


Running largely across Nestle’s confectionary and sweet biscuit categories, many marketers see this as a fairly direct counter to the mammoth Spots v Stripes initiative from close competitor and official Olympic treat provider Cadbury.


Hovis ‘Wholemeal Challenge’ campaign gets even closer to the edge of the London 2012 legislation than most. Essentially it is a New Year Facebook exercise app that leverages Olympic sentiment by using star Team GB cyclist and Olympic medal winner Victoria Pendleton as the bread brand’s campaign ambassador.


This digitally-led campaign, which revolves around the initiative’s Facebook page and includes web film, drapes Pendleton in the British flag and uses words  on the so called ‘forbidden list’ such as ‘Gold’, ‘Olympic Champion’ & ‘2012′.

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