Going for gold: Olympic ad winners and losers

By Mae Anderson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20 2014 8:47 p.m. MST

It is not clear the suit had anything to do with the team's performance and some experts say the flap likely won't hurt domestic sales of its core products like shoes and T-shirts. But it was a blow to the brand because it came in front of a global audience right at the time when Under Armour is seeking to expand internationally. And experts say it put the company on the defensive instead of garnering positive Olympic goodwill.

"It was an opportunity for them to shine on the Olympic stage and they fell," said branding expert Laura Ries.

Under Armour didn't respond to a request for comment.

— McDonald's was limping out of the gate from the start.

Before the Games began, the burger chain tried to introduce a seemingly innocuous hashtag on Twitter, CheerstoSochi. Getting a hashtag to go viral is a marketers' ultimate goal, since it is basically free publicity.

But in this case, the hashtag was picked up by activists in tweets condemning the Russian gay rights limitations and assailing McDonald's for not speaking out forcibly against it. Next, two of the three athletes it sponsored, speedskater Shani Davis and bobsledder Lolo Jones, failed to win a medal even though they were favorites coming into the Games.

The company's TV spots also failed to impress. One ad that shows Olympic champions biting their medals and comparing that to people biting Chicken McNuggets didn't resonate with consumers: Ace Metrix said it scored on the low end of their effectiveness scale.

McDonald's didn't respond to a request for comment.

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