Olympic Gold Brands

As stakes rose for companies wanting to sponsor the Olympics, the competition between them is got incredibly intense. Some of 2012’s sponsors are spending $100 million or more for global rights, and others are taking on a more local sponsorship role. Still others support a particular sport or team. What all of the companies on the list below have in common is their ability to use the excitement of the Olympics as a way to get their brands to their target audience. Each brand on this list embraces a four-pronged approach to sponsorship, which includes:

  • A realization that consumers can immediately spread their message through social networking. If a company associates itself with the Olympics, they can create content that people want to share, and that association serves as a way for consumers to create their own stories.
  • A shift from exploiting the gains of a partnership to using it to help others. Olympic-associated companies are creating more value than ever for not only themselves, but for their partners and the community as a whole.
  • A realization that it’s not enough to engage the consumer; instead, they need to become part of the community. By doing so, they help their consumers feel as if they are a part of the community surrounding the Olympics as well.
  • A discontent with relying on old standby methods, and an application of new technologies and brand research in order to set themselves apart from the Games’ other sponsors.

Coca-Cola hired music producer Mark Ronson to write a song that uses actual sounds made by the athletes during competition. Coke is making that song “shareable” by allowing fans to create remixes and music videos. That song, “Move to the Beat”, is part of Coke’s largest-ever Olympic sponsorship package.
Procter & Gamblehas found a way to make itself memorable through its popular “Thank You, Mom” marketing effort. It has also given up some of its hospitality benefits, and it’s giving 90% of its corporate Games tickets to worldwide consumers.
GE was behind the revamped lighting of Tower Bridge, and it also participated in other projects. It further cemented its legacy through an $8 million equipment donation to an East London hospital.
Heinekenhas two Olympic deals; it’s the official beer of the Olympics, and it also supports the Netherlands’ team with the Holland House. The team’s home in London has sports bars and restaurants, and it has been a popular spot during previous Games.
British Airwaysis using the Olympics to debut creative ads, including one that encourages the British to stay out of the skies and home cheering on their team. There’s also an online ad that allows users to input their address, and have the BA plane visit their neighbourhood.
Ralph Laurenis providing the medal, opening and closing ceremonial uniforms for the US team, complete with the berets that have proven popular in previous Games’ uniforms.
Kellogg’sis a USA sponsor, but it’s also sponsoring the Tour of Gymnastics Champions, which occurs after the Games. Most Olympic partnerships will be old news by August, but Kellogg’s will keep its name out there by sponsoring the 40-city Tour.
Written by James Harper for Hall and Partners, brand research experts. Find out more about Hall and Partners here or find out more about big brands and their branding here.