Yahoo’s New Olympics Site Draws Big Name Brands

A number of big-name advertisers have signed on as sponsors for a new Olympics-related Web site launched by Yahoo Sports. The new site will feature several ad-supported elements including a “Beijing torch tracker,” video updates, an online news show and an Olympics results section.

High on the list of advertisers is Bank of America, a longtime official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team. It is serving as the sponsor of an Olympics news show being published by Yahoo and it is using the new Yahoo platform to run video ads for its “America’s Cheer” Olympics-related campaign in which fans can send text, photo or video messages in support of athletes.

Other brands involved include hotels chain Super 8, Chevrolet, and Comcast. Super 8 has signed on as the sponsor of a torch-tracking feature, which involves a map showing the progress of the Olympic torch as it makes its way to Beijing; Chevy is sponsoring the new Summer Games Round-up, Medals Section and Medals Module; and Comcast is supporting the new Olympic results section.

Bank of America spokesman Joe Goode said the company’s online Olympics-linked advertising is part of a multimedia effort that also includes print ads, TV commercials, themed banking products, a traveling “Cheermobile” in which people can record their Olympic cheers, and the construction of a “Hometown Hopefuls Family Center in Beijing. At the family center, American Olympians and their families can mingle, enjoy free meals, use phones and computers and watch videocasts of the games.

Goode said the online America’s Cheer campaign “marks a really significant investment” for Bank of America in the social networking space. He noted all the cheers collected are hosted on AmericasCheer.com, and said the brand is using YouTube, Flickr and Facebook tools to support the effort.

Since April, more than 3,000 “cheers” have been recorded including some from celebrities. “It’s starting to gain some speed and that’s been without any real advertising support behind it,” said Goode. He said TV commercials for the campaign began only recently, as did some radio, point-of-sale and print ads.

Goode said Yahoo’s new Olympics platform “provides us an opportunity to utilize the strengths of social media by creating an interactive dialog with millions of highly engaged Olympics fans.”

He said Bank of America believes Yahoo will be a major destination for people in search of Olympics information. “With this year’s Olympics, there are more ways than ever before for people to see, interact with and experience the games,” he said.

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