Sochi Fails Become Marketing Wins


Everyone loves the excitement of the Olympics when they take over the media every 2 years. Athletes suddenly become heroes and celebrities. Everyone seems to have a new interest in odd sports (skeleton?). It’s fun to share this event with the rest of the world.

This year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi has been taking the news and social media sites by storm. While the athletes and races have certainly been popular, it’s #SochiFails that are stealing the show this year.

Ever since news reporters and journalists arrived in Sochi, Russia a week or two ago, the rest of the world has had the pleasure of hearing the crazy stories they’re tweeting about. Even though Russia has had 7 years to prepare for this tiny, insignificant event, the city was still under construction when people started to arrive. Hotels were missing entire lobbies and rooms weren’t ready. When they were ready, they were missing things like curtains or doorknobs.

One of the fastest spreading #SochiFails on social media was an image of two toilets next to each other without any wall in between. Athletes tweeted pictures of themselves sitting on the toilets together with witty captions about bonding.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 11.19.24 AM

Next thing I know, there is a promoted post in my newsfeed on Facebook by Clorox. They created (whether it’s real or not) a double headed toilet wand for Sochi’s double toilets. Clorox wins this one for its brilliant use of real-time marketing. What better way to connect with their audience than to relate to something everyone is talking about?

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 2.56.46 PM

Another example of brands taking advantage of #SochiFails is Airbnb. Airbnb is a website where people can rent out homes to travelers. When people took their Sochi hotel complaints to Twitter, Airbnb responded with beautiful photos of homes in Sochi that were available to rent out. Airbnb nailed this one by being able to solve Sochi’s problems with their product, while also getting their name out there.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 4.21.01 PM

When the image of the Olympic rings fail from the first minutes of the Olympic Ceremony started to circle around the Internet, people went crazy with  jokes and parodies of the one failed ring. The best parody out there was of an Audi ad. Audi is known for having four rings as their symbol, so naturally it fit perfectly to relate the brand to the olympic ring fail which also featured four rings. Even though this ad is fake, Audi could have really benefitted from making this a reality.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 11.17.31 AM


I can’t wait to see what else #SochiFails brings to brands and real-time marketing!

What are some of your favorite olympic marketing promotions?