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Ralph Lauren strengthens Olympics partnership via shareable video series

August 13, 2012


U.S. lifestyle brand Ralph Lauren is strengthening its Olympics affiliation through a social video series that features Team USA athletes speaking about determination, drive and focus during the Games.

The videos feature Olympians including gymnast McKayla Maroney, swimmer Ryan Lochte and soccer player Heather Mitts. This video campaign is a complementary effort for the Olympics by Ralph Lauren.

“I think social videos are an integral part of the Ralph Lauren social media strategy,” said Brittany Mills, director of client services for B Culture Media, Atlanta. “The general public becomes fascinated with the athletes in the Olympics and wants to hear their stories, see them outside of their competitions and are proud that they are on the U.S. team.

“Video is a communication channel that is easily consumed and shared,” she said. “In the case of the Ralph Lauren videos, they are able to tie two brands together, highlight five-plus athletes and showcase merchandise in under five minutes.

“They also have the benefit that it is all done within a medium that is highly viral and easy to access.”

Ms. Mills is not affiliated with Ralph Lauren, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Ralph Lauren did not respond before press deadline.

Go for the gold
The Ralph Lauren videos have been available on its YouTube page and Facebook account for some time.

In Their Own Words video

The videos were originally used to hype consumers up for the Olympics and first shared right after the Olympic opening and closing ceremony outfits were revealed (see story).

Now, Ralph Lauren is emphasizing its relationship with some of the most-watched athletes in the world.

The videos feature Olympic and Paralympic athletes discussing how much the games mean to them, what it took to get them to London and how they have been preparing their entire lives. Some topics include “dreams,” “hard work” and “in their own words.”

Dreams video

The videos are interspersed with some footage of the athletes playing their respective sports while wearing the Ralph Lauren uniforms.

“Looking at Ralph Lauren’s YouTube channel, we can definitely see the brand experimenting a lot with a variety of different video formats,” said Yuli Ziv, founder/CEO of Style Coalition, New York. “Most of them are still staying in the commercial realm, so there is a big opportunity for the brand to create content targeted specifically at the social Web.

“The audiences watching videos on YouTube or Facebook need more engagement and the Olympics were definitely a great opportunity to leverage this,” she said.

Social butterfly
Since Ralph Lauren is the outfitter of Team USA, the brand has been leveraging this relationship to gain awareness and possibly sales throughout the duration of the Games.

Indeed, the brand also has uniform-esque apparel and accessories that consumers can buy.

The brand has been using its relationship with specific athletes to gain visibility throughout the Olympics, as well.

For example, Ralph Lauren bought out a solo sponsorship of The New York Times iPad application for the second time with content, shoppable items and player biographies.

The ad was available on the Sports, Olympics, Home & Garden, Travel, Fashion and T Magazine sections og the Times app. It ran Aug. 1-12 (see story).

Since Ralph Lauren has a few different lines – from more-affordable Polo to high-end Black and Purple Labels – the brand can reach a variety of consumers.

However, the Olympics are a way to bring all of them together based on the same commitment to excellence that Team USA represents.

“The Olympians, representing the country, are perfectly in line with Ralph Lauren's Americana message,” Ms. Ziv said.

“They represent the dream and the best in class, which has a great value for a luxury fashion brand,” he said.

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York