Nike Goes For The Gold
Would you be surprised to hear that children lining the athletes’ parade route through Olympic Park in London were advised to wear “comfortable, unbranded or adidas shoes”? A bit biased, you say? Okay -- lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most.
So it's no surprise that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is hard at work to ensure that brands that are not “official sponsors” of the games do not gain financially -- or otherwise -- by an association with the games. And the ODA, a publicly funded group, is ready for some imaginative ambush marketing forays.
The regulations allow them to police areas up to 200 meters around a venue. Oh, and skies above these venue too. Talk about “air rights!” And any water around an event zone, like the sailing events at Weymouth.
Nike -- not an official Olympic sponsor -- has a new YouTube ad that promotes athletes in towns around the world named “London.” Get it? They’re not actually saying the 2012 London Olympics, but subliminally and emotionally you can’t avoid linking the brand to the city -- and thus the event. Oh, FYI, adidas paid around $60 million for their official brand status.
So does this all pay off as official sponsor or as ambusher? Here’s how the athletic footwear brands currently rank in terms of engagement and loyalty, according to one measure of customer loyalty across brands, with our most recent ranking of brands, which officials at the ODA say has nothing to do with the Olympics.
- New Balance
Olympic host cites depend on official sponsorships to raise money to stage the Games, so they have created groups like the ODA to seek out ambush marketers and punish them, with penalties that can be as high as $31,228.74. That’s according to today’s pound-to-dollar exchange rate.
Is it worth it? Well, back in 1984 Nike ran ads of athletes with the Randy Newman song “I Love LA” as the soundtrack at those Summer Games. Research found that consumers thought Nike was the official sponsor -- not Converse, who was the official sponsor.
Today, all we can offer in terms of consolation to those official sponsors worrying about those clever non-sponsor brands is a passage from the Bible, Joshua 8:7: “Then ye shall rise up from the ambush and seize upon the city.”
London and the surrounding Olympic environs.