Global Marketing

The Olympics: Who Will Win the Gold in the Marketing Category?

By, Natalie Filice, Katie Kirk, & McKenna McVicker

The Olympics: a global platform for the world’s premiere athletes to compete, representing their countries proudly. There are clear winners, represented by gold, silver, and bronze medals in their specific athletic categories. What is not clear to most audiences is that there is another type of winner: a marketing winner. The winners who receive “the gold” in this category are individuals who transform themselves into a brand on the national stage. They are the names or “brands” that will go down in history, the Tonya Hardings, Jamaican bobsledders, the shirtless Tongan flag-bearers, the seventeen year old snowboarders who tweet about ice-cream while performing.  These individuals are given an international spotlight, a chance to make a name for themselves. Whether it’s for their stellar athletic excellence or something unique that attracts attention, they have the ability to captivate the world’s attention and establish a brand for themselves. Let’s look at this year’s top contenders:

1: Chloe Kim: The Foodie

Chloe Kim is the gold winning, American snowboarder who is just seventeen years old. She is dominating the headlines after her performance, but not just for her athletic success. The snowboarder tweeted during her competition that she was craving ice-cream. Twitter exploded, and she played along with the hype. Now she is branded as a foodie and is a trending news icon. I would not be surprised if Kim has her own Ben & Jerry’s flavor within the next few months.

2: Pita Taufatofoa: The Shirtless Tongan

Pita Taufatofoa, is worldly branded as “the shirtless tongan.” In the Rio Olympics, Taufatofoa beared the Polynesian flag shirtless, exposing a physique that had the global audience buzzing. Back then, he was a top marketing winner. This year he returned to reclaim his title, or brand. In the 2018 Olympics he performed as a cross country skier, however, Taufatofoa showed off his physique again in the closing ceremony. The global audience is still talking about Taufatofoa, and his brand is renewed.

3: Lindsey Vonn: The Comeback

Lindsey Vonn, a gold-medalist American alpine skier, has been anticipated as a top contender for a marketing medal. The athlete endured a major injury in 2016 when she fractured her humerus. As a previous gold-winner, there was pressure for Vonn to excel. The massive injury has placed Vonn in the position of the comeback. Despite her major setback, Vonn won the bronze medal, a trying feat. Her brand will now include coming back and excelling after facing a challenge.


These individuals market themselves individually, but it is clear that they will all be remembered and continue to have distinguished themselves as a brand. The Olympic stage is a global platform that has the potential to explode a brand into creation.