Lenovo Olympic Ads…What Were They 'Think'ing?

I’m watching the Olympic opening ceremonies right now and the production is absolutely amazing. Between performances there are some pretty entertaining and creative ads, full of Olympic spirit. Unfortunately, stuffed somewhere in there is Lenovo’s amazingly lame “sumo” ad.

Lenovo is a Chinese company, is a major Olympics sponsor, designed the Olympic torch and set up more than 30,000 computers and components to help run the games.

Lenovo’s also done some great work this year to broaden its notebook portfolio to appeal to consumers and small businesses. With all the world watching, the Olympics are the perfect opportunity for Lenovo to make a splash.

And the best they could come up with was “Sumo,” an ad that shows hundreds of sumo wrestlers unloading off of buses, making the ground shake and flying away. At the end of the commercial we’re treated to the tagline “Heavy on features, light on weight. The Lenovo ThinkPad X300.” And finally we see the Olympic logo. You can watch it below…

This ad is wrong in so many ways that I’m embarrassed for Lenovo and the employees I know there that work so hard to build and promote their notebooks. Lenovo’s agency, Ogilvy and Mather, really let them down with this ad. Samsung, Nike, Home Depot, Visa United Airlines, Exxon Mobile and other sponsors seem to have put a lot more effort into giving their ads the Olympic vibe than Lenovo.

Just a few of the things wrong with the commercial:

1) China’s Missing in Action?

“Sumo” doesn’t use any images of China. In fact, it was shot in Sydney, home of the 2000 Olympics. Lenovo should have shown its pride in its home-country and shot its Olympic ads in China. Lenovo should’ve used some Chinese symbols like dragons, the color red or any one of the stunning Chinese landmarks. Why not feature some Chinese faces, instead of confused looking westerners and the wrestlers? Or what about using some quotes from Confucius, one of history’s greatest ‘Think’ers?

2) Not Enough Olympics….

Lenovo’s been sending out press releases about its involvement in the Olympics for months, put together an Olympics portal, has more than 600 employees working at the games, and installed more than 30,000 computers and components to help run the games and help people stay connected. But you’d never know any of that by watching this commercial.

3) No Olympians

The “Sumo” ad doesn’t have a single Olympic athlete. Instead, it has 260 sumo wrestlers, none of which are Olympic athletes because…well sumo wrestling isn’t an Olympic sport. Does anyone at the agency even watch sports?

4) This is an ad for what?

This one-minute spot shows the X300 for all of three seconds at the end of the commercial and it looks just like a run of the mill ThinkPad, rather than the super slim notebook it actually is since it’s shown from the front and there’s nothing to scale it to so viewers can see how slim it is. When people watch this ad they’ll probably remember the copious amount of man-boobs and jiggling behinds more than the X300.

5) The Average Person Won’t Get It

The X300 is mentioned in passing at the end of the commercial. Most people will be momentarily confused by the flying sumo wrestlers and won’t notice the whole “heavy on features, light on weight” tag line or remember that it’s even for the X300.

My parents came over to watch the opening ceremonies and were really confused by the ad. I had a ThinkPad X300 sitting on my coffee table and tried to show them that computer was really thin and light, but the commercial did nothing to pique their interest.

It gets worse…

Believe it or not, “Sumo” is actually Lenovo’s most Olympic-ish ads that will run during the games.

According to a Lenovo press release, Sumo and three other ads will run 175 times.

“Castaway” shows that a Lenovo IdeaPad and Veriface will recognize you even if your wife and dog can’t after you’ve been stranded on an island. Lenovo’s claiming this is a “new” ad, but it’s actually several months old.

“Laser” shows that the ThinkPad SL’s spill resistant keyboard is more useful than a notebook with lasers.

And “Troll” shows a dancing, singing troll…

I know they wanted to showcase a feature in each ad, but the execution could have been much better.Lenovo had a great opportunity to use the Olympic commercials to push its IdeaPads and ThinkPads to the general publlic. It’s too bad to see their creative doesn’t have any Olympic spirit.

YouTube vids via Lenovo Blogs

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