DETROIT -- It's safe to say the London Olympics were a success for the United States, which won 104 medals, the most of any country. But the games also were a triumph for BMW of North America and General Motors, which, driven by record ratings on NBC, experienced measurable buzz among consumers as a result of advertising.
Traffic to BMW's American Web site increased 26 percent over the course of the games, which ran July 27-Aug. 12, compared with the beginning of July, said Trudy Hardy, BMW of North America's marketing communications manager. More than half of the viewers were first-time visitors to the BMW site.
The number of people who configured vehicles on BMW's site also increased 22 percent, Hardy said. Those who take the time to outfit a vehicle online are more likely to eventually go to a dealership and buy a vehicle.
"We certainly saw a great deal of initial return, I think, on our overall advertising investment," Hardy said. "I think just from the reaction we've seen over the two-week period, we've had a significant increase of Web traffic and that's one of your leading indicators right out of the gate."
GM used the Olympics to help launch its initial advertising campaign for the new Cadillac ATS, which is scheduled to go on sale later this year. GM said its web traffic rose 60 percent, and was up 88 percent for the ATS's page on the GM Web site.
BMW was the official automotive partner of the Olympics, providing more than 3,200 vehicles to the games' organizers to ferry athletes and others around London. More visibly, though, for U.S. viewers, BMW was the sole foreign automaker that advertised on the NBC platforms during the Olympics. The campaign was BMW of North America's largest ever, but the company declined to say how much it spent on the advertising.
GM was the only domestic automaker to advertise during the games.
BMW of North America's campaign was its largest ever, but the company declined to say how much it spent on the advertising.
NBC said the games were the most-watched TV event in U.S. history, drawing in 219.4 million viewers to its networks over the duration of the Olympics. There were also 159 million video streams on NBC's online, iPhone and iPad live streams of the games.
BMW also earned a 226 percent increase in social media comments during the first 10 days of the Olympics, according to a study by social media analytics firm Bluefin Labs published by Advertising Age, an affiliate of Automotive News.
Bluefin compared social media buzz during the first 10 days of the Olympics with the 10 days before the Opening Ceremony.
The social media hype continued throughout the games. The number of Twitter users who followed the BMW USA account increased 300 percent during the Olympics, Hardy said.
For GM, YouTube views climbed 1,100 percent, and its total social media accounts experienced a 30-percent increase in traffic.