How to Use Music to Support Your Brand’s #Rio2016 Story 1114 words · 6 minute read

Athletes across the world are chasing their dreams of a gold medal this year, and brands will have to train just as hard to win big during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

As we have seen in previous global events, music has helped make the most effective campaigns unique, authentic, and accessible to a worldwide audience — for brands building campaigns behind #Rio2016, the soundtracks to their ads might make or break their shot at gold.

Samba, Carnaval, bossa nova — Rio’s culture of music is a true kaleidoscopic reflection of its blended ancestry. Any brand wishing to market properly during #Rio2016 needs to seriously consider its music strategy, and now is the perfect time to start.

Make Your Story Stand Out

One of the most important things your ad will have to do is stand out from the rest.

Commercials featuring the thriving culture of the city’s favelas and the lush rainforests of Brazil’s countryside will momentarily catch the eye of any foreign viewer, but after thirty brands replicate the same spot with nearly identical shots, the consumer is going to get bored — no matter how beautiful the edits might be.

For the 2013 Winter Olympics, McDonald’s faced a similar predicament. Every brand was producing a commercial that, to the common consumer, seemed nearly identical to the next. Ice, sports, and more ice. So, to hook consumers into actually watching their commercial and experiencing the epic story of those sixty seconds, McDonald’s synced “The Odyssey” by MD artist No Wyld to cut through the noise and really stand out.



The spot was the most searched ad during the Olympics, generated just under 500,000 searches within minutes of airing, and increased sales for the advertised product. On top of all that, the campaign catapulted No Wyld into a record deal because of their subsequent success on Shazam and Spotify.

Keep this situation in mind as you craft your #Rio2016 campaign. No two stories are the same, but plenty will be damn similar. Find the right song to make your story stand out.

Be Authentic to the Culture of Rio

The best consumer engagement requires complete immersion into your story, and authentic music localized to that story’s setting is one of the strongest ways to give your audience a captivating experience.

Stock Brazilian pop won’t get your brand anywhere near the finish line. The difference between hastily produced MPB in an L.A. studio and true samba-canção by a carioca de gema is subtle, but monumental in the hearts and minds of your consumers. Discover the real music that will enrich the lives of your audience in a real way.

A carefully curated soundtrack of authentic music was one of the key ways EA Games built an immersive experience for 2014 FIFA World Cup, the official video game for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Championship.

Check out the Music Dealers Brazil Playlist >>

Raphi Lima, Music Supervisor/Global Music Partnerships & Marketing at EA, sought authentic music by real artists from all over the world for the game, including Israel, Mexico, the United States, and of course the host country, Brazil.

Ultimately, two Music Dealers artists joined the coveted lineup of worldwide musicians, including Brazilian band Holger, a premier indie talent out of São Paulo.

“I think that music allows you to have a personal connection with the consumers that you will not always get through other marketing avenues,” Raphi explained in Return of the Hustle, Music Dealers’ latest publication written by our founder Eric Sheinkop.

“In that way, you are enhancing that entertainment experience, while you are also using music to further your relevance in that cultural space. You really use music in that sense to create the identity of a video game, and you’re also using music to then get to a consumer that you might not have yet, and you know that music is the way to get to their heart.”

Be a Bridge Between Brazil and the World

For being such a global event, the fact of the matter is the Summer Olympics are still only that: an event. That’s why it’s essential for brands to extend the #Rio2016 experience to audiences around the world, so consumers of all ages and tax brackets can share in the Olympiad glory.

Coca-Cola endeavored that same mission in 2014 for the FIFA World Cup, which was also hosted by Brazil.

In 2013, Coca-Cola worked with Brazilian singer Gaby Amarantos to craft the first version of the brand’s anthem of the Cup, entitled “Todo Mundo” or “The World is Ours.” A few months later, Coca-Cola worked with Brazilian-born singer David Correy and percussion ensemble Monobloco to produce its global FIFA World Cup anthem with English lyrics.

From there, Coca-Cola partnered with Music Dealers to discover a lineup of emerging artists across the globe to record localized versions of “The World is Ours” in order to spread the Brazilian experience to the rest of the world, and to likewise deliver global flavors back to Brazil.

“It started to feel global, because we were taking this music of Brazil, these amazing percussive rhythms and this idea of the World Cup, which was the campaign, and it started to express locally through local languages and artists putting their stamp on it,” said Joe Belliotti, Director of Global Entertainment Marketing for The Coca-Cola Company.

“Then, before the World Cup started, we took all those versions and we used a lot of them in Brazil. So it was like we were bringing the music of the world back to Brazil during the World Cup.”

For most brands, their product exists in the physical realm. It’s finite, it’s tangible – when you’re done with it, you leave it behind. Extending the relationship between a brand and the consumer through music continues the engagement long after the point-of-sale.


The Games may seem far off, but as we were writing this, McDonald’s released its first Summer Olympics ad on March 13. Now that’s timely. The August games will be here before we know it, so while you’ve got the time, give the music for your Olympics campaign extra consideration.

Whatever your brand is planning for #Rio2016, music can help make it be unique, authentic, and accessible to a global audience. Don’t miss your chance at advert glory — go for gold, viva sua paixão, and sync awesome music like the Olympian you are.