Was it beneficial to be an official Olympic sponsor?

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The Olympics came to a close last week, hailed as a resounding success.  We all watched the events unfold, shouting at our televisions, willing on Team GB. But at the end of one of the most successful Games in history what have the official sponsors been asking themselves? Have the Olympics been a resounding success in their minds? They maybe feeling nervous for a very different reason than out athletes were on the starting line; what will the financial results at the end of the year be?

No one can argue against the success of the games; in fact the only real bad press that arose was down to the empty front row seats that were made highly visible by our HD T.Vs with much finger wagging directed at the official sponsors. To rub salt in the wound, Lord Coe failed to thank the Sponsors during his speech at the closing ceremony. Could it be that Lord Coe was not entirely pleased with how the successful the sponsors were at ‘enhancing the Olympic games’?

When asked prior to the opening Ceremony who the sponsors were, only 24% were able to name any. On a positive note this increased to 35% once the games had begun. The chocolate lovers amongst us know all about the official snack partner, the burger lovers all about the world’s largest Maccy Ds, traffic jammed Londoners will know all about the official vehicles zipping past them and the World’s Favourite Airline has successfully delivered teams from all over the globe. Yet BrandRepublic stated only ‘5% of the general public could name more than 5 official sponsors’.  I am sure this is not a figure to go down in their record books.

London 2012 was the ‘social media games’, for the first time social media has played an important role in marketing the Olympics and acting as a new platform for fans to engage with the Games. Despite organisers’ best efforts to avoid guerrilla marketing, this has resulted in unofficial brands being able to piggy back off the success of international events. Nike, who had previously been official sponsors of the Olympics, have milked this social media tool. According to a study by Brandwatch the Nike ‘#makeitcountcampagin’ has resulted in them outpacing Adidas as the apparel brand most associated with London 2012. The Nike offices must be cracking open the Champagne; they have gained the most exposure without the large expenses that come with being a Sponsor.

And it’s not just the corporations who have muscled in on the act. Post London 2012, it looks as though the athletes have been effective at building their personal brands. Think Olympics, think Usain Bolt, think Virgin Media.

So sponsors, was it worth it? Perhaps not, but we must all remember that the main drive of most business is financial. So the question can only be truly answered when the sums are in. Let’s wish them all luck, something tells me they may need it!

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