Rio Ad Meter Helped Olympics Suck Less, Make Our Opinions Matter

Much like the “Big Bang Theory,” Jon Hamm voice overs on Mercedes commercials or athlete’s foot – I’ve always thought watching the Olympics kind of sucked.

It’s not because I’m not a gun toting, bald eagle riding, Mountain Dew chugging, pickup truck driving, American populist. I am, I guess. No, it’s just that minus basketball, I don’t really care about most of the sports.

I certainly appreciate how hard these athletes work to get to the games. I just really could care less about watching somone balance on a beam, or to watch a dude with a shaved chest wearing a speedo and a rubber cap slither through a swimming pool, water polo definitely aint my bag, beach volleyball is kind of “meh,” soccer is worthless, and what the hell is a canoe slalom?

I need helmets, kicks to the face, massive chainsaws cutting down trees and the like. You know, real entertainment.

But you know what I don’t mind during the Olympics? The commercials that run during the games. Oftentimes they are rather inspiring.

Hence, I was pretty pleased when USA TODAY Sports announced it would replicate its 28-year-old Super Bowl Ad Meter and launch and Rio Ad Meter. And two weeks later it would seem people got on board as more than 145,000 people voted in bracket showdowns on the top 32 commercials featured during the Rio 2016 games at

Competitors included new ads from Coca-Cola, Mini, Chobani, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Visa, Under Armour, Gillette, CitiBank, BMW, Samsung, Gatorade and more. And we voted for the athletes beyond the sports I cared to not watch, but still took a liking to. Olympians like Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, gymnast Simone Biles, decathlete Ashton Eaton, or soccer (ugh) stars Neymar Jr. and Carli Lloyd.

In the end, the finals pitted ultimate winner Toyota’s “Stand Together” commercial focusing on the power of teamwork against Hershey’s “Hello From Home” featuring gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.

Whether you dig the Olympics or not – I guess as a marketing guy what I really liked was that USA TODAY Sports’ Rio Ad Meter, which was sponsored by Adobe, presented us with an opportunity to express our opinions on a creative collaboration between brand and personas. And unlike the Electoral College, our votes actually counted here. Which certainly made the Olympics suck a lot less for me in the summer of 2016.