No matter how the competition of the Olympic Games actually plays out, or the many problems often associated with the lead-up and preparation to the games, it’s hard to deny that the goodhearted competition of nations often inspires us as people, and reminds us that our differences are fewer and less important than we sometimes think.
The event that is the Olympic Games has become massive over the years, with wall-to-wall television coverage, and, of course, ads to go with it. But just like the rest of us, it seems that advertisers are inspired by these amazing feats of human strength, endurance, and spirit. And it reflects in Olympics ads, which can be inspiring in their own right.
In honor of the Games, and advertisers who are taking a cue from the moment and using their ads to be about brands as well as something greater, we’ve picked seven of our favorite Olympics-themed ads from 2016. These are some powerful pieces of advertising, and while they do their jobs–selling products and promoting brands–like the Olympics, they’re also something more.
1. Perfect Isn’t Pretty from Gillette
Gillette does something many don’t when cheering athletes: it reminds us of the incredible amount of hard work and dedication that goes into being the best. Here Gillette celebrates the less-glamorous side of the incredible achievements of Olympic athletes.
2. We’re the Superhumans from Rio Paralympics 2016
Rio isn’t just home to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games; it’s also hosting the 2016 Paralympic Games. The Games’ musical, upbeat ad shows the wide variety of competitions that make up the Paralympics, as well as the wide variety of athletes who participate in them, and the amazing skills required to be the best in the world.
3. The Chant from Samsung
This year marks the first Olympic Games for South Sudan, a nation that only gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. With its ad “The Chant,” Samsung focuses on the pride South Sudan in its athletes like Margret Rumat Rumat Hassan.
4. The Contenders from Dick’s Sporting Goods
Becoming an Olympian requires huge sacrifice and incredible drive. Dick’s Sporting Goods uses its ad to salute Olympic athletes for their dedication and perseverance, focusing on how such contenders are made of sterner stuff than most.
5. Never Lose the Love from Gatorade
The willingness to dedicate your life to sport means you have to love it, and Gatorade gets to that childhood love that lives in all athletes with its Olympics ad.
6. Keep Playing from Always
For girls, the pressures of societal expectations can cause some to give up on their sports dreams. Always’ ad is focused on making sure girls know that they’re more than good enough, and their dreams of excellence are worth pursuing.
7. The Anthem from Samsung
Another offering from Samsung gets to the unity the Olympics inspire, even as nations compete against one another. As the global community comes together, this ad creates an amazing hybrid anthem, stitching together pieces of national anthems from around the world.