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HITTING THE MARK: The Triumphs of the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The Philippines has had its share of victories and losses in sports. Filipino athletes have been recognised locally and worldwide for their efforts and achievements in various athletic events, including boxing, soccer, dragon boat racing, athletics, and track and field, to name a few. 

In the recently concluded 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Filipino athletes etched their names in history books as the Philippines’ representatives brought home the most medals ever for the country. These wins include the country’s first gold medal, won by weightlifting champion Ms Hidilyn Diaz, and the other three medals were won by three of the four representatives of the Philippine Boxing Team. 

With the victories declared and the medals lauded, this has generated buzz on media, including Twitter, Facebook, Forums, Q&A sites, and other social media channels with user-generated content. Isentia’s Award-Winning Media Intelligence and Insights peered into the top conversations, highly engaged posts, most mentioned athletes, sports events, and common themes, among others. Data used in this study were taken from the following sources: Isentia’s Workbench, Pulsar, Google Trends, and News search. 

Emerging Victorious in Social Media Buzz 

The most mentioned Filipino athletes were the following names: Hidilyn Diaz, Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial, Carlos Yulo, EJ Obiena. There was 181,267 social buzz featuring the keyword “Olympics”, 9% of which were retweets from Twitter. 

Naturally, there were digital outlets that generated social buzz related to the Tokyo Olympics. Among those channels with buzz mentioning the Olympics was the Senyora Santibañez Facebook page. Known for humour and wit, it had a post asking when ‘sabong’ or cockfighting will be entered in the Olympics – mentioning that it would allow the Philippines to rake in a gold medal. 

The post also asked netizens who would enter into such a competition. The effort garnered a tremendous 109K engagements, 8.9K comments, and 5K shares. Curiously, netizens were seen mentioning local personalities Gretchen Baretto and Atong Ang. They related their answers to a video of the two attending a sabong event. The Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho Facebook Page had a post featuring Artemio Rocomora, an Olympian who won a bronze medal back in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Netizens were seen giving their heartfelt messages in the comments section. The post racked up 160K engagements, 1.6K comments, and 4.1K


These posts signal that the PH digital public leans towards and are interested in humorous posts that incorporate the latest happenings and Filipino culture/tendencies and those that touch or tickle the heart

Politics: An Olympic Sport? 

Interestingly, the most common phrase relating to the Olympics was “Presidential Spokespers [sic], BEST Olympics”. This referred to PH Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s statement that it was not a coincidence that the country had its best-ever performance in the Olympics under President Duterte’s term, adding that the administration invested in its athletes. 

Notably, several netizens expressed that the statement was credit grabbing. Some brought up the 2019 Oust Duterte matrix, announced by then-presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, which falsely tagged athlete Hidilyn Diaz. The post by News5 on Facebook garnered 47K engagements, 7.5K comments, and 6.9K shares. 

Moment Marketing: Seize the Moment 

Following the athletes’ wins, numerous brands capitalised on the moment and got creative with their congratulatory posts. Some opted to congratulate the athletes and incorporate their logos and taglines, while others integrated their products into the greetings. Brands include Lazada, Starbucks, Nestea, Ever Bilena, and L’OREAL, among others. 

According to Kate Dudang, Insights Manager, Philippines, “… there is a wide variety of approaches that may be employed to utilise memorable events like the Olympics to boost brand awareness… brands should not miss out on looking into how they can drive their communication initiatives quantitatively and qualitatively. Isentia can do this — a holistic evaluation that would properly identify outcomes and opportunities which the brand may exhaust to achieve its objectives.” 

LAZADA‘s congratulatory post for Hidilyn Diaz, which put a twist on the brand’s tagline “Nasa Lazada Yan!” amassed a whopping 158K engagements, 3.5K comments, and 1.3K shares. STARBUCKS‘ greetings were simple but captured the essence of the athletes’ sports. Its post celebrating EJ Obiena for pole vault garnered 29K engagements, 1.1K comments, and 2.1K shares. Amusingly, NESTEA leveraged its similarity to the name of silver Olympic medal winner Nesthy Petecio. The netizens were delighted, enabling the effort to rake in 6.3K engagements, 546 comments, and 1.3K shares. Cosmetics brands EVER BILENA and L’OREAL capitalised on Hidilyn Diaz’s win during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Following her victory, numerous articles popped up discussing her bold lipstick choices.

Other brands also leveraged the wins by giving out promo codes and discounts, such as delivery providers Grab and FoodPanda, and local food brands such as Overdoughs, Chicken Chingu, and Dohtonbori. 

While most brands banked on the athletes’ wins through creative congratulatory posts, OROCAN stood out due to its candid approach. OROCAN, a top plastic manufacturer in the country, called out other brands who showed support towards Hidilyn Diaz after her gold medal win in the Olympics but were absent when Diaz asked for financial assistance for her training. The post captured the interest of the digital public, who lauded the brand and its marketing team for their audacity in injecting a genuine concern into its promotional material. To add, the brand’s real-time response to netizens’ comments that embodied the brand’s human side cultivated meaningful conversations and generated favourable feedback

“Who would’ve thought that a plastic manufacturer could get hundreds of thousands of engagements for posting on the Olympics? Simply smart and effective. Brands need to be on top of the latest happenings in the industry or related ones and current events. They must know what type of content resonates well with their audience. Do you know what tickles their fancy? Or what entices them to engage? These are just some of the things Isentia can help you unlock for better business decisions.” Victoria Lazo, Insights Manager, Philippines, concludes. 

What Isentia Can Do to Help You 

Isentia can measure the effectiveness of your brand’s content on your own Facebook page. The quality of posts is evaluated based on their correspondence with your brand’s messaging and the strength of the audience engagement. This will aid in ensuring the content you share will resonate well with the intended audience and is hinged according to your brand’s image. 

Isentia can also help you assess how your organisation is recognised through Reputation Analysis. This approach blends mainstream social media conversations and survey data to reveal a comprehensive view of what people say, think, and feel about an organisation. Isentia can help you track not only buzz on your brand but for your competitors as well through a Brand Health Study. The study looks into social media mentions of select brands, focusing on top conversations, low-hanging fruits, most active voices, and may also focus on events or issues. It can delve into attributes your brand stands for and differences in the buzz that mention your competitors. Furthermore, it can guide you in determining if what your competitor is doing is worth emulating and how you can position yourself given conversations on events, issues, and personas.

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