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When your brand is built on the concept of "We Are Winter," how do you get people excited about the Summer Olympics?

That's the marketing challenge facing the Canadian Olympic Committee as it launches a new advertising campaign on Wednesday, with 100 days to go until the Games in Rio de Janeiro. The COC is in the midst of a multiyear effort to increase the prominence of its own brand, and make association with that brand more valuable for the marketers with which it signs lucrative sponsorship deals.

"We Are Winter/Nous sommes l'hiver," the cinematic ads and social media activity surrounding the Sochi Games, was the biggest ad campaign in the COC's history, tying Canadian identity to persistence in a harsh and icy climate. It was a success in terms of awareness among Canadians: In the first two months of the campaign, the slogan was mentioned more than 540,000 times on Twitter in Canada alone and more than one million times worldwide, while the COC increased its social media following and visits to the Olympic.ca website.

To continue that momentum, the COC is continuing its use of that winter imagery this time around, showing how Summer Games athletes draw their toughness in training through the winter months. The concept behind the campaign, created with ad agency Cossette, is "Ice in our Veins."

"We approached it as the next chapter in the story of our brand," said COC chief marketing officer Derek Kent.

But it has also been an embattled brand since last fall, when The Globe revealed a sexual assault complaint had been made against then-COC president Marcel Aubut.

Mr. Aubut resigned from the COC in October. Earlier this month, freestyle skier and Olympic champion Jean-Luc Brassard resigned as the COC's chef de mission for the Rio Olympics. In an interview with The Globe, Mr. Brassard said that part of the reason for his departure was exhaustion over the fallout from those allegations, and a lack of answers to questions about when the COC knew about the allegations, and why they were not dealt with sooner. Last week, COC president Tricia Smith said the COC would implement the recommendations of a workplace review released in January, including putting in place new policies to deal with discrimination, harassment and those who report such behaviour.

"We've had our tough moments in the last six months … ," Mr. Kent said, responding to questions about whether the COC's presence in the news has hurt the brand, and hampered the multiyear marketing project. "Our marketing partners, of course they have questions. We've had some very productive conversations with them."

The COC's marketing partnerships are sometimes signed on a four-year basis, with the latest period coming to an end after the Games in Rio. This means that some of the deals will be up for review in the coming months, and some renewal discussions have already begun. Mr. Kent says these have been positive so far.

"The proof of the strength of our brand will be in the number of companies who want to continue to partner with us," he said.

The COC's heavier investment in marketing has not been limited to the period just around the Games themselves: last summer, for the first time, it helped to promote the Pan Am Games in Toronto with a campaign called "Now or Never," focusing on its Olympic team athletes competing there. National Sport Foundations such as Cycling Canada and Alpine Canada have stepped up their own marketing efforts, after receiving greater financial support from the COC.

During this new campaign, for the first time the COC will be including those sport foundations' logos next to its own in ads where a particular athlete is featured.

The COC is also hoping to earn free distribution of its ads and its slogan on social media. It is creating 10-second vignettes from its campaign designed specifically for short attention spans online, which it hopes will be shared widely. By continuing with the theme and overall look of the earlier campaign, the COC is betting it can continue on the momentum of "We Are Winter," Mr. Kent said.

"You're going to see an undercurrent of swagger."