It’s been impossible to miss the deluge of Olympic sponsorship. Whether you’re watching the TV, walking down the street or reading about it in the press, one thing is for sure – the Olympics has been a big branding operation. But what about those who fall outside the rings of preferred sponsors?
London Organising committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), has very strict rules in place to ensure only the brands that coughed up the ‘big bucks’ had the right to refer to the Olympics in their campaigns. The result is a growing number of brands bending, jumping and climbing around those rules, often with very witty results.
So who makes the medals?
Gold goes to the astute campaign offered by Oddbins, who introduced a 30% discount for customers sporting eight items from non-sponsor brands. To qualify customers need to visit one of Oddbins 35 branches wearing Nike trainers and have in their pocket a set of Vauxhall car keys, an RBS MasterCard, an iPhone, a bill from British Gas and a receipt for a Pepsi bought at KFC. Oddbins’ managing director Ayo Akintola commented: any business without the tens of millions of pounds required to join the cabal of multinational brand partners for the Games are reduced to the status of beggars on the gilded streets of the Olympic movement.”
They followed this up with equally witty visuals that were displayed countrywide. However, no legal action will be taken by LOCOG for the obvious dig, as rules were adhered to. A champion performance.
Silver goes to Nike, who just days after Paula Radcliffe pulled out of the Olympics due to injury turned around a campaign with Paula carrying a union jack with the caption ‘legends run forever’, directly challenging the official sponsor Adidas. If Paula had not pulled out, the campaign could not have run. A strike of luck (for Nike anyway).
Nevertheless, despite this cunning campaign, I don’t think Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer will be worrying anytime soon, he recently reported that 100 million pounds of Olympic merchandise had already sold. London 2012 will be their most profitable yet.
And in bronze, another valiant effort from the betting site Paddy Power, who have cunningly sponsored an egg and spoon race in London, Burgundy and have dubbed the event ‘the largest athletics event in London this year’. Just a subtle dig there then…once again LOCOG decided not to press charges.
And finally a round of applause to a brand that just missed out on the medals, Beats headphones, who truly have exemplified the power of ambush marketing. Like the brands above it is not an official sponsor of the games, but they offered something no one can ever resist – a free gift. Beats customised their headphones for individual athletes and as a result they have been seen wearing them all over the games, especially in the swimming; a very powerful bit of advertising indeed.
The Olympics, as well as being an exciting worldwide event, is also an undeniable money spinner. And as with any big event brands will always swarm to try and boost profits off the back of it. However we should consider what cases like this prove: when you put rules and guidelines in the way restricting association and demanding money for the privilege, advertisers will find new and creative ways to hurdle them. But do you think they also earn more acclaim as a result?
This entry was posted on Friday, 10 Aug 2012 at 4:25 pm and is filed under Branding, Events, Head to Head, Strategy.
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