The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter games were Canada’s best overall medal performance, finishing with 29 medals for 3rd spot on the overall podium. Not only was this year’s Olympic games one for the books in terms of athletics, but the advertisements and activations surrounding the games this year were some for the record books as well. This year, companies like P&G, Toyota, and Canadian Tire stepped up their advertising to not only include the Olympics, but also shed a spotlight on the Paralympic games coming up in March.

Though there were many Olympic campaigns with a variety of messages this year, it was those who were able to unite the Olympics and Paralympics through a unified strategy that stood out. There were three campaigns that evoked the shared values behind both platforms that earned a spot on our list of Favourite 2018 Olympic Campaigns. These campaigns shared the values of athletes, Olympians, Paralympians and fans alike through universal themes of overcoming bias, mobility for all, and playing for something bigger than yourself. The result was some of the strongest campaigns of this Olympic season.

P&G – Thank you mom #LoveOverBias
In their #LoveOverBias campaign P&G found common ground by reflecting the struggles that athletes have encountered such as various forms of prejudice. As a part of the larger “Thank You, Mom” campaign the role of one’s mother is celebrated by representing her as a young athlete’s biggest cheerleader and the one who sees potential in even the hardest times. The #LoveOverBias campaign unites the Olympics and Paralympics through aiming to help people talk openly about bias and its role in limiting our potential. This campaign helps to spread the message that we need to change the narrative from focusing on the differences that divide us and instead celebrate the things that we share.

Toyota – Start Your Impossible
Toyota has been long-term partners with both the Olympics and the Paralympic games, but this year was the first time that the company focused on spreading the message of unity in their “Start Your Impossible” campaign by spreading this message globally. Toyota’s first world wide campaign included a total of 10 spots all centered around the idea of mobility for all, spreading the brands message that every person, in every part of the globe, should have the freedom of movement. With spots ranging from “Good Odds” where you see the journey of a Paralympic athlete and the mobility issue they have faced, to “Mobility Anthem” depicting Toyota’s vision for equal mobility around the world in the future, the theme is carried across various contexts while relating back to the Olympics.

Canadian Tire – We All Play for Canada
Building on their “Inclusivity in Play” message from previous years Canadian Tire released three spots for the 2018 winter Olympics and Paralympics that shared the united message that no matter the struggles we face, we all play for something larger – we all play for Canada. This was achieved through three spots in varying lengths; “First Skate”  features a dad preparing a sledge for his son to use for the first time,  “Curl for Glory,” shows a young curler receiving the support that he needs to get the stone down the ice, and finally, “Tap,” features Wayne Gretzky, Hayley Wickenheiser, Jonathan Toews, Connor McDavid and Rick Hansen and is a reminder that the whole country will be behind its athletes during the Olympics.

The Final Bell:
As we look forward to the Paralympic games, our hope is that the strategy these brands employed and the message they delivered exquisitely continue to resonate with Canadians throughout the games and beyond. Fan or not, there were some powerful themes represented. If we as Canadians can live up to them, we will be well set as we head into the future.