We are pleased to serve as the primary source of sponsorship information and analysis for news media around the globe. Our current annoucements and news releases are viewable through the links below.

Here's How Leading Brands Will Be Making The Most Of Their Olympic Sponsorships

Business Insider, July 16, 2012

By Jim Andrews

As the stakes have risen for companies wanting to associate with the Olympic Games and athletes—we’re talking billions of dollars over the four-year Olympic “quadrennium”—the competition among brands is as fierce as any action on the track or in the pool.

With the opening ceremonies in London fast approaching, which companies will perform the best?

IEG, a consulting firm that has worked with Olympic sponsors and organizers for nearly three decades to strategically select, leverage and quantify the results of their partnerships, has identified ten brands that are taking smart approaches to their Olympic relationships and are poised to earn significant return on their investments.

Some of these sponsorship medalists are at the top of the Olympic partner food chain—those spending about $100 million for four-year global sponsorship rights. Others are “local” sponsors of the London organizing committee, tapping the excitement for the Games in the host country. The remainder are supporters of the U.S. team or a single sport, plus a brand that many would consider an “ambush marketer.”

The thread connecting all ten is their ability to tap into the interest and excitement surrounding the Games and use them as a platform to uniquely connect their brands to their target audiences, even though those targets and the methods used to activate each partnership range from teens and social media (Coca-Cola) to C-level executives and sustainability projects (Deloitte).

These ten companies exemplify a larger shift in the way leading brands think about and practice sponsorship. While others remain mistakenly focused on mass recognition as an Olympic sponsor, these companies—and their forward-thinking peers involved in other sports, entertainment and cause-related partnerships—have transformed their relationships into value creators that are driving measurable returns in the form of increased brand equity, perception, loyalty and sales.

Each of these brands has embraced a new approach to sponsorship that includes four critical elements:

  • They are using the Olympics to not just tell stories, but to nurture story-telling by others. They recognize that consumers are now collaborators, capable of instantly spreading a message throughout their social networks. Their association with the Games and athletes allows them to create stories that consumers want to share and serves as a catalyst for brand ambassadors to co-create their own stories.
  • They are moving from exploiting the assets obtained through their partnerships simply for their own needs to using them to serve others. They seek to create value for consumers, customers, business partners and communities, as well as themselves.
  • They recognize it is no longer enough to merely engage, but instead strive to become part of the community that surrounds an event like the Olympics. In turn, they help their consumers truly belong to those communities and reap the credit and reward for doing so.
  • They are innovating, not just activating. Not content to rely on what’s been done before, they are applying new technologies, thinking differently and executing creatively to rise above the white noise of other sponsoring brands that are using the same old tactics that no longer generate interest.

Status: Worldwide Sponsor

To make the Olympic experience relevant to teens, Coke commissioned producer Mark Ronson to create a song incorporating sounds made by athletes in competition. The company is making it “shareworthy” by letting fans remix the anthem and create music videos spread through social media. “Move to the Beat” is just one element of the company’s largest ever Olympic marketing effort.

Procter & Gamble
Status: Worldwide Sponsor

In addition to finding a unique, memorable and popular Olympic hook through its “Thank You, Mom” campaign, P&G is addressing criticism of the “corporate takeover” of major events by sacrificing some hospitality benefits and giving away 90 percent of its Games tickets to consumers.

Status: Worldwide Sponsor

Aside from a lighting makeover of Tower Bridge and participation in other infrastructure projects, GE ensured a legacy from its London Games relationship through a donation of $8 million worth of medical equipment to a hospital in an underserved area of East London as part of its healthymagination initiative.

Status: Official Partner, London 2012 Games; Official Sponsor, Netherlands Olympic Committee

The Dutch brewer’s two deals give it the best of both worlds. It positions itself as a prestigious international brand to Olympic visitors through its designation as the official beer of the Games. And it stands out as the primary supporter of its home country’s team through its naming of the Heineken Holland House, the Netherlands committee’s home in London that features restaurants and a sports bar and has proven a popular hot spot for visitors in previous Olympic cities.

Status: Official Partner, London 2012 Games

The British telecom giant is the people’s sponsor through its BT London Live project. The company is installing huge viewing screens, cafes and interactive sports activities in Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park to give those without tickets a memorable Olympic experience.

British Airways
Status: Official Partner, London 2012 Games

BA is taking full advantage of the Olympic platform to introduce creative advertising executions—including spots that urge British consumers not to fly (but stay home and cheer for the home team)—and a wildly popular viral campaign that allows users to customize the TV spot by entering their address to create a video in which a BA plane drives through their neighborhood.

Status: Official Sponsor, U.S. Olympic Committee

Consumers won’t be aware of this partnership, but that’s okay as the consulting firm can share a relevant story with its B2B target, showcasing its role in spearheading the USOC’s Green Ring sustainability program. The company has already established relationships with Team USA cosponsors and Green Ring contributors Anheuser-Busch, BMW, BP, Dow, GE and McDonald’s.

Ralph Lauren
Status: Official Sponsor, U.S. Olympic Committee

While Adidas, Nike and other athletic apparel brands battle it out with multiple team and athlete deals, Ralph Lauren has a clean shot at U.S. consumers with its opening, closing and medal ceremony outfits that will be a broadcast focal point. It doesn’t hurt that the company is bringing back the berets that have been especially popular in previous Olympic versions.

Status: Official Sponsor, U.S. Olympic Committee; Official Sponsor, USA Gymnastics

Although it is a Team USA partner, the company’s smartest move may be its new deal with USA Gymnastics to be the title sponsor of the post-Games Tour of Gymnastics Champions. While many Olympic sponsorships will struggle to remain relevant after mid-August, Kellogg’s gets a 40-stop, September-through-November showcase of some of the Games’ most popular athletes.

Status: Official Sponsor, Jamaica Track & Field Team

Most would brand Puma an ambusher, as it will unveil its Puma Yard “brand experience” in East London on the day of the Games’ Opening Ceremonies to “celebrate the global sporting events taking place this July and August in London,” according to its carefully worded press release. The company is a sponsor of Team Jamaica, but the heart of the matter is its association with Usain Bolt. Whose shoes other athletes are wearing pales in comparison to what’s on the feet of the World’s Fastest Man.