Back at the start of the year, when consumers were asked what brands popped to mind when they thought of the Olympics, Nike was the number-one answer. Of course, it didn’t matter that Nike wasn’t actually an official sponsor of the event, but why quibble with such trivial details? In fact, Nike did a good job keeping attention on them during the Games themselves with the brilliant pushing-the-rules ad “Find Your Greatness.”
The point is, brands can shell out truckloads of cash to be involved in and event organizers can employ hundreds of “brand police” to ensure their paid sponsors aren’t getting screwed, but that doesn’t mean that when the Olympics end, people aren’t left saying, “I really should drink Coke more often!” or “Wouldn’t it be great to have a little more Panasonic around the house?”
YouGov BrandIndex, a daily consumer perception research service of brands, insists that only two of the partners for London 2012 “broke through in any significant way in consumer perception while a few had “very modest or no significant movement” or even “went backwards,” according to a company release.
Visa and BP were the only winners, according to the release, with the credit-card company making the biggest jump forward, partially thanks to television spots narrated by the very familiar voice of actor Morgan Freeman. The group that registered the biggest jump in Visa love during the Games were the coveted 18-34s, YouGov claims. For those at the actual Games, though, if they weren’t carrying an actual Visa card, they may have built up some rage at the company after hearing at every Olympic venue that Visa was the only card accepted.
BP, a company that is still trying to clean up its image after the massive Gulf of Mexico debacle two years ago, also scored well with its sponsorship of BP Team USA, a group of nine U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.
The consumer-perception losers, YouGov claims, were GE, Holiday Inn, and BMW, though you can be sure folks in those boardrooms would strongly disagree.
Meanwhile, Nike archrival Adidas is claiming it had a stellar Olympics with “visitor numbers to its flagship Olympic store increas[ing] 82 per cent year on year during the [Games],” according to Marketing Week. Adidas is claiming it already has recouped the big wad of cash that it invested in the Games earlier this year, the publication notes. And social media consultancy Sociagility has it that Adidas was the top social-media mover among the sponsors during the Games, according to the BBC.
Banker Lloyds TSB saw a 30 percent jump in brand recognition, according to research from brand consultancy Havas Sports & Entertainment. One of the things helping Lloyds attain that was its sponsorship of the torch relay, the BBC notes. Lloyds smartly used its branches on the torch route as places for people to gather while the flame passed by.
Also scoring a big win was non-sponsor Beats headphones by Dr. Dre, which got itself a lot of attention when it sent out free sets of headphones to Olympic athletes who all wore them in front of the world’s media. Clever move, Dre. Who needs to spend all that dough on sponsorship when all it takes is a little innovative thinking to get the same kind of attention?