Pure Gold: Winning Activations From the 2018 Winter Olympics

March 28, 2018 | Brand Environment Sponsorships


Whether you were a casual fan or a diehard sports aficionado, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea—and the sponsors that activated there—had a little bit of something for everyone. Though smaller in scale than its summer counterpart, the 2018 Winter Olympics constitutes one of the world’s most iconic sporting events, and brands kept pace, delivering fan-centric experiences that kept supporters of all ages engaged. Here’s a taste of some of the experiences that scored.

Procter and Gamble

Procter and Gamble, a long-time Olympic sponsor, returned to the Games with its P&G Home, a hospitality space that plays host to U.S. athletes and their families. The venue served as an escape from the pressures of traveling to and navigating a foreign country, and celebrated Team USA Olympians and their families, particularly moms, who have supported the athletes along their journey to the Games.

The P&G Home offered hot meals, cozy beanbag chairs, complimentary salon and shaving services featuring products from brands under the P&G umbrella, and the rare opportunity to kick back and relax for a while. The experience continues to be a win-win, offering athletes and their families a much-needed respite, and giving P&G an opportunity to showcase some of its brands, which this year included Head & Shoulders, Gillette, Pantene and Braun.


Samsung made good use of its position as a domestic brand at this year’s Games, offering interactive, tech-fueled experiences all over South Korea. Through nine “Olympic Showcases,” the brand underscored its history, as well as its partnership with the Olympic Games, through engagements like “Mission to Space VR: A Moon for All Mankind,” a virtual reality experience created by Samsung that took participants on a full space mission, including feeling lunar gravity as they moved through the experience.

Other engagements at the 2018 Winter Olympics included leveraging Samsung’s Galaxy Note8 phone and its S Pen (a stylus) for a gallery experience in which attendees could create their own portraits; a dedicated Kids Lounge that offered hands-on tech experiences and an IoT demo executed using Samsung devices. The effort earned the brand some gold-medal stats: 435,878 athletes and fans visited the Samsung Olympic Showcases for activities powered by 2,157 Samsung products.

Canadian Tire

The great distance between Canada and PyeongChang meant that many friends and families supporting Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes could only cheer them on from back home. But thanks to Canadian Tire’s Red Door experience, athletes and their loved ones (along with a few lucky fans) were given a real-time communication platform that allowed for more intimate interaction during the Games.

The magic happened inside a life-sized, freestanding Red Door (actually a colossal screen with a red frame) featuring live streaming technology and a custom algorithm. Together, the technology allowed athletes inside Canada’s Olympic House and their supporters at home to speak in real time. Snowboarder Mark McMorris, for instance, was connected with friends at a Canada Snowboard viewing party back in Vancouver. Not a bad way to coordinate some meaningful moments while spreading some Olympic cheer.


Ninety-year Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola was back at it with larger-than-life experiences across South Korea. An experiential highlight was a building-sized replica Coke vending machine located near the University of Seoul that offered different engagements on each level, including photo moments, a history of Coke’s presence at the Olympics and calls to action based on the brand’s mobile app.

Another vending machine experience at Olympic Park in PyeongChang gave consumers an opportunity to insert large gold coins to receive prizes, like a commemorative can with the Coca-Cola polar bear holding the Olympic torch. In addition, the brand’s Pin Trading Center celebrated the age-old Olympic tradition and featured more than 40 international pin traders who have worked with the brand over the years. And over at the Medals Plaza, a large display of illuminated cubes bearing Coke branding made for a popular photo op.

All in all, fan-based experiences were the name of the Games, along with engagements that creatively tied sponsors’ heritage into the history of the Olympics. From cutting-edge technology interactives to a Guinness World Record-breaking drone show, the brands sponsoring the 2018 Winter Olympics seem to have packed their A game along with their passports.

Check out brand activations designed and produced by Sparks here.

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.