Olympic Games in Sochi and a marathon in Montreal

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Ressac was mandated by FGL Sports to manage its social media platforms during Sports Experts' marketing campaign in anticipation of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Our digital content manager, Benoît Lelièvre, was at the forefront of all editorial activities.

Here is the tale of his intensive community management marathon.

I was already responsible for the community management of many of FGL’s brands before the Olympic Games, but the event posed a challenge since it was a completely different workload.
Benoit Lelièvre Digital content manager

Benoît’s marathon in numbers

  • 17 days of intense non-stop community management
  • 220 original posts on Twitter and Facebook
  • 136 loops of the song “We All Play For Canada”

I started this adventure with four tools in hand: editorial calendars for both Facebook and Twitter, each containing 68 publications or so, a graphic designer ready for anything thrown at him and a great support system from my colleagues and clients. The idea was to minimize the work structure and chain of command in order to create content and to post it online as fast as possible.

Expect the unexpected

We decided to start the campaign 24 hours before the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games. This turned out to be a wise decision. As soon as the first sponsored posts were published on Sports Experts' Facebook page, many users flooded the page with political comments concerning Russia’s recently passed law declaring homosexuality illegal. Already a first crisis! But we were ready for it. The tone of the comments was firm and opinionated but within respectful limits. We therefore decided to keep them on the page.

Then, during the afternoon, a user with a profile photo of a Guy Fawkes mask left a comment on a promotional post, in which he claimed to be affiliated with the legendary “hacktivist” group Anonymous, and hinted at a possible cyberattack. Following this veiled threat, we communicated with the client, who put together a monitoring team that would watch over social media as well as the company’s website during the night.

The politically themed comments stopped appearing on the Facebook and Twitter pages as soon as Canada won its first medal. On Saturday morning, snowboarder Mark McMorris did the impossible, earning a bronze medal in the slopestyle event, even after he came in seventh during the qualification round and even though he was competing with a broken rib. The tone and the flow of comments immediately changed.

The Sochi Olympic Games gave us many great moments on social media. The men’s Mogul skiing final was a very popular event on Twitter. It’s the kind of event that only social media can provide: a Monday afternoon in which the world can experience and comment on a great moment during business hours. The entire agency was gathered behind my computer to watch the Canadian skiers win gold and silver medals, just like at many other offices around the country. We were all on Twitter at the same time, experiencing this moment together.

Was the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games marketing campaign a success? To grow the visibility and credibility of a brand, a campaign needs to reach users. Therefore, we can say Mission accomplished for this criteria. We used social media to create niche discussions with users and experience great sporting moments with them.

For me, this experience was a marathon of content creation, and I saw it through with a great sense of pride and satisfaction.