Youku feeds Olympic fever with micro-movie series

Louise Duffy | 17-07-2012
With the Olympic Games just days away, Chinese VOD platform Youku has aired The 727 Cycling Team, the fourth in a hit series of five micro-movies telling the stories of "Ordinary Olympians" - ordinary people whose extraordinary experiences reflect the Olympic spirit.Ordinary Olympians debuted on 15 April as part of Youku's "Our Olympics" campaign, and has since been viewed more than 24 million times. More than 93,000 comments to date have been left by viewers with whom the short, heartwarming movies struck an unexpected chord.Drawing on its tradition of grassroots engagement, Youku and the sponsor Yili chose to highlight unconventional athletes for Ordinary Olympians. The first of the micro-movies, Happy Backpackers, introduces Zhang Guangzhu and Wang Zhongjin, an elderly couple who have backpacked their way through 46 countries on seven continents since they first set out from home in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics.The 727 Cycling Team, tells the story of seven Chinese people travelling to London by bicycle from Kunming in south west China. None of the amateur cyclists, with ages ranging from 20 to 60, had ever left China before. If all goes well, they will arrive in London on 27 July, in time for the opening of the 2012 Games. The episode debuted to 1.9 million views within a day of its online premiere.Continuing with the theme of grassroots participation, Youku is also calling on its 300 million viewers to share their own sports-related videos for Our Olympics a campaign challenging viewers to bring Olympic values to their everyday lives. The campaign (of which Ordinary Olympians is a part) has spread rapidly across Chinese social media, and offers weekly prize drawings as incentives for the week's most-retweeted videos.Dong Yawei, Youku's senior VP of sales, said: "By combining emotionally gripping stories, professionally produced content and engaging online presence, Youku continues to win the hearts of its viewers."Li Dan, executive director of corporate marketing at Yili, added: "For Yili, the Olympics are about more than just the competition between athletes. They're a reminder of how important health and nutrition are for everyone, whether they're on the racing track in London or on a basketball court in Beijing. Yili's mission is to help our customers lead happy, healthy lives, and with Ordinary Olympians we're proud and privileged to be highlighting people doing exactly that."Youku accepted original viewer uploads until 30 June, after which it reviewed the user-contributed videos and selected representative viewers as subjects for a second line of micro-movies telling their stories. The final episode of Ordinary Olympians, will air later this July.