Google, the most visited website in the world, has successfully capitalized on the world’s most monumental athletic event—the Summer Olympics. With a majority of the world tuning in or following in some aspect (nearly 70 percent of the population watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics), riding the insurmountable buzz is an obvious marketing strategy.
However, Google didn’t solely rely on television spots flooding primetime or even social promotions. In a not-so surprising move, the dominant search engine relied on visits to its own home page– a tactic relied on less frequently as brands shift focus towards Facebook and landing pages. Starting on the morning of the 2012 Opening Ceremony, Google introduced a new Doodle daily, each depicting a different sporting event. After nine sports, the brand switched it up. It added animation (not new for Doodles) and a gaming aspect to increase engagement.
Jumping on the current competitive spirit, Google has so far unveiled four simple games which require only a keyboard and some Olympic fever. All four Doodles – hurdling, basketball, slalom canoe, and soccer – feature the best aspects of successful gamification – simplicity; a timing, ranking, and scoring system; and shareability. After each go, the player is given their time, medal standing, and option to share via Google Plus.
With internet users already flocking to the site at an even higher rate than usual to search about the Games’ events, athletes, and results, the Doodles are helping to generate additional hits and buzz as the London Olympics begin to die down. The brand’s reliance on gamification has been a successful strategy during the world’s two most hyper-competitive weeks of the year, and the level of Google Doodle buzz via Twitter and Facebook supports that.
Take a look at the Google Doodles that have been released during the 2012 Summer Olympics:
Opening Ceremony 2012 — July 27, 2012
Archery — July 28, 2012
Diving — July 29, 2012
Fencing — July 30, 2012
Rings — July 31, 2012
Field Hockey — August 1, 2012
Table Tennis — August 2, 2012
Shot Put — August 3, 2012
Pole Vault — August 4, 2012
Synchronized Swimming — August 5, 2012
Javelin — August 6, 2012
Hurdles — August 7, 2012
Basketball — August 8, 2012
Slalom Canoe — August 9, 2012
Soccer — August 10, 2012
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