Sponsoring the Olympics

Anyone know a brand who wants to offer “long-lasting economic, social and environmental benefits” to London and the rest of the country?

What brand wouldn’t? After all, as brands must provide consumers with value – the above statement equates to a whole lotta value.

The timetable for the “domestic partner bid process” for the London 2012 Olympics was released today, and it was revealed that the first sponsors would be able to adorn themselves with the iconic rings imagery from March 2007, providing all goes to plan.

I’ve heard a figure of GBP£60m being bandied about as the type of investment you need to be looking at for top-tier sponsorship. Seems a lot, but when you consider this effectively you buys you virtually six years worth of partnership, the sum doesn’t quite seem so daunting (well, kind of), though you will be sharing the podium with a number of other (albeit non-competitive) brands.

What would this do for a brand? I’m in two minds. Could it be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to indelibly etch the brand on the population, surrounded by a warm halo of positivity, unity and goodwill? Or would it just be a badging exercise, raising brand awareness for a while and providing a license to produce a few lame ads with athletes in them?

As always, I suppose, it depends on a few things: what the brand is, how the association is leveraged, and of course, how well the games go. If we got a record haul of gold medals, and in turn set up a prevailing UK sporting culture that lasted for another decade, then to have a brand involved in such a social phenomenon would be fantastic.

If, on the other hand, the games goes massively over budget, the traffic infrastructure melts down, and we bag a solitary bronze in Greco-Roman Wrestling, the investment probably wouldn’t look so great…


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