The Olympic Winter Games are a great source of content-marketing thanks to their huge popularity. Branded content performs especially well. Content marketers can take advantage of the overarching themes that the Winter Games embody (unity, athleticism and equality), while also picking up on athletes’ untold stories. They can also channel the positive tone of the Olympic Games in general to strengthen and improve messaging.

When it comes to spreading content, there’s no better medium than the athletes themselves. Thanks to their large followings, they can reach a very wide audience. Take Team USA athletes, like figure-skating bronze medalist Adam Rippon, for example.

The Olympics are also popping up in the Netherlands in the form of branded content. Supermarket chain Albert Heijn came up with a skating-themed campaign featuring famous speed skaters Annamarie Thomas and Erik Hulzebosch. It’s no coincidence that the campaign was timed to tie in with the Olympic Winter Games. According to Albert Heijn, research conducted during the previous Winter Games in Sochi, Russia showed that the success of their Olympic team served as an inspiration for the Dutch public to become more athletic themselves.

Dutch speed-skating gold medalist Sven Kramer has also noticed that companies are interested in incorporating athletes into their advertising, especially before and during the Olympic Games. He has recently appeared in branded content for companies like Lotto, Jumbo, KPN and Procter & Gamble. In this way, athletes are seen as brands themselves.

However, the use of social media does not always have a positive effect on the host country. During the last Winter Games, social media platforms were used to share behind-the-scenes accounts that were less than flattering for Russia’s reputation: unfinished hotel rooms, stray dogs and inedible food all trended under the hashtag #SochiProblems.