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Small Steps Yield Big Gains in TD Ameritrade’s Olympic #ItAddsUp Campaign

  |  January 23, 2014   |  Comments

TD Ameritrade wants consumers to support 2018 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls by using the hashtag #ItAddsUp on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The message behind the campaign –- behind every big step, there are lots of small ones -- also applies to consumers saving for retirement.

td-ameritrade-sochiBrokerage firm TD Ameritrade is drawing a parallel between the many small steps it takes for athletes to get to the Olympics and for consumers to save up for retirement in its #ItAddsUp campaign. The social giving effort is being featured on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and seeks to support U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for 2014 and 2018.

In addition to sponsoring the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA, TD Ameritrade is sponsoring individual athletes who hope to compete in Sochi: biathlete Tim Burke, hockey player Ryan Callahan, short track speed skater J.R. Celski, freestyle skier Patrick Deneen and snowboarder Louie Vito, as well as Noelle Pikus Pace, who competes in skeleton, and Danelle Umstead, who competes in visually impaired paralympic alpine skiing.

These athletes have been paired with what TD Ameritrade calls the 'next generation' of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for 2018: short track speed skater Aaron Tran, snowboarder Gabe Ferguson, biathlete Jakob Ellingson, paralympic alpine skier Katrina Schaber, paralympic sled hockey player Chris Douglas and freestyle skier Nik Seemann, as well as Gracie Clapp-Taylor, who competes in skeleton.

Leading up to the 2014 Games, which kick of February 6, each mention of #ItAddsUp generates one mile toward a trip to Sochi for the seven 2018 hopefuls, with the ultimate goal of amassing the 37,017 miles required to send them all to Russia so they can experience their first Olympic Games alongside their mentor athletes.

As of January 22, about 24,000 miles had been accrued since the campaign launched December 9.

Consumers can track progress on TD Ameritrade's #ItAddsUp website, which also features athlete bios, along with a map or sorts that illustrates mileage progress.

Dedra DeLilli, director of social media marketing and corporate sponsorships at TD Ameritrade, says the site will eventually be updated with news and events related to the athletes that TD Ameritrade sponsors and it will also try to capture "the perspective of hopefuls through the microsite."

According to a rep, that perspective will include photos, videos and text, which may be shared via social channels as well.

In addition to miles leading up to the Olympics, TD Ameritrade has also set up a brokerage account for each 2018 Olympic hopeful.

After the Games begin, each use of #ItAddsUp will add $1 to every one of the seven athlete's TD Ameritrade accounts, up to $25,000 per athlete to "help pay for training and other expenses that accompany the many steps it takes to get to the Olympic Games," the brand says.

According to DeLilli, TD Ameritrade worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the individual governing bodies of each sport to identify athletes that would align well with its existing sponsored athletes.

"The idea came about when we started thinking about the fact that Olympians go through a journey of small steps over time to add up to something big and it's a nice parallel to what our clients do in saving for retirement. It doesn't happen overnight," DeLilli says. "It's the same thing [with the Olympics], you don't win gold overnight and it's a nice parallel about marginal gains. That's where the hashtag came from."

DeLilli says a campaign focused on the Olympics gives TD Ameritrade a captive audience of American consumers and "it gives us an opportunity to extend our reach beyond our traditional target market."

"Everyone is looking to save for whatever it might be and I think the messaging we've created can resonate with anyone at any age," DeLilli says. "It's never too early or too late to save."

The campaign also includes TV ads featuring select athletes, which can be found on TD Ameritrade's YouTube page.

As of January 22, the most popular video featured Vito and had about 7,100 views.

In addition, DeLilli says TD Ameritrade has a media buy with NBC.com, where consumers will see digital assets that drive back to the microsite.

The campaign runs through the Olympics and Paralympics, which wrap up on February 23 and March 16, respectively.

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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