PyeongChang’s Sponsorship Picture

PyeongChang’s Sponsorship Picture

As in Sochi in 2014, global and local sponsors have filled the coffers of the organizing committee for this year’s Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. But with notable exceptions such as new TOP sponsors Intel and Toyota, the activation scene is relatively quiet—both on the ground and in traditional and digital marketing channels.

The situation is driven partly by the remote location—particularly for Western brands—but also by local political scandals and corporate malfeasance that have generated calls to reform South Korea’s “chaebol” conglomerates, many of whom are PyeongChang 2018 partners.

While many of those companies are taking a lower than usual profile at the event, they have not completely curtailed promotional efforts. Samsung is activating the Games with a limited-edition phone, Hyundai is showcasing self-driving cars and Korean Air has painted an airplane with the official Olympic mascots.

By the numbers, the International Olympic Committee has secured four new worldwide partners since Sochi: Alibaba, Bridgestone, Intel and Toyota. The U.S. Olympic Committee lost several prominent sponsors in the same period, including AT&T, BMW, BP, Budweiser, Citi, Hilton, McDonald’s and TD Ameritrade.

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