Top Brands Target Facebook

Advertisers are going for Facebook as athletes go for the gold, in the first Olympic Games where marketers are placing such high hopes on social media to create a buzz for their brands.

With the London Olympics weeks away, advertisers hope that social media will do much of the heavy lifting in raising brand profiles, by getting consumers to chat about promotions online.

Big consumer brands have long seen the Olympic Games as a way to get more consumers to buy their products. This year, several are thinking of them as a way to talk up their brands on Facebook — which of course could lead to even more purchases. The games run from July 27 to August 12.

“Back in 2008, it was very much about paid media,” said Mark Renshaw, chief innovation officer at Leo Burnett, a unit of No 3 advertising agency Publicis, referring to the last Games.

“Now the reason they want to have a relationship [with consumers] is to generate shared media.”

That’s in part because of the sheer amount of time people are spending on social media. By the end of last year, some 794 million people visited Facebook each month, and each spent an average of 377 minutes — more than six hours — on the site, according to comScore Inc.

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