Inspiring a generation of new athletes

The branding of the London Olympic games has been one of the biggest stories about the games – after the success of the athletes actually winning medals. Stories have circulated of people wearing branded T-shirts being denied access to events because the logo is by a competitor to the games.

The organisers have been intensely aware of the possibility of ambush marketing, where spectators group together to promote a brand in a way that captures the attention of TV cameras. Though with this focus on the spectators it seems the athletes are not so strictly policed – Roger Federer making sure his Rolex watch featured in photos of him holding his silver medal might have upset the official Olympic timekeeper Omega for instance.

Some sponsors have been long-time supporters of the games. Coca Cola has been a sponsor since 1928 and McDonalds since 1976. These main sponsors – known as Olympic Partners – contribute over 40% of the revenue of the games and therefore the ‘ridiculous’ stories of them preventing rivals from gaining from exposure during the games can sometimes be overblown by the media.

Proctor & Gamble estimate that their incremental sales increased by over $100m after the Vancouver games, so there must be something in all this corporate support of sporting events. Without the partners, this would not be the global event that it has become – inspiring a new generation of young athletes across the world and that can’t be a bad thing for sport or business.

Roger Federer (Switzerland)


Photo by Marc licensed under Creative Commons

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