Procter & Gamble has inked a deal with Team USA that extends through the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. The Cincinnati-based CPG giant recently signed a deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), putting 17 brands across five USOC sponsorship categories for the 2010 and 2012 Games.
Jason Dial -- former director of global sports marketing for Procter & Gamble, who left the company a month ago -- told Marketing Daily that paradoxically, the deal was easier to do than the NFL program, although the Olympic program is much more complex. P&G is the first company to launch both a major multi-brand NFL and Olympics program in the same year, per Dial. The NFL program aligns 13 brands as official locker-room products.
"We literally were finishing the NFL deal when we began on the USOC. It was actually easier because we didn't have time on our side," he said, speaking at Wednesday's Sports Sponsorship Forum in New York. He added that P&G blazed the trail with the NFL deal. "We learned a lot through the NFL experience. We had never done anything of that magnitude and complexity, even though the USOC program took a third of the time."
He also pointed out that the partnership with the USOC was put together just as the Olympic Committee was changing its leadership. "That was challenging; we had started discussions in Beijing with the whole previous regime so we had to manage that turnover. The Olympics is harder because there are lots of different layers to stub your toe on."
Dial says success in sponsorship deals depends on due diligence up front and defining one's objectives and strategies. "You have to connect with what your brand stands for; if you don't connect with that, you'll get killed on ROI."
The company says athletes in the Team USA deal include speed skater Allison Baver; ice-dancing silver medalist Tanith Belbin; bob sledder and gold medalist Vonetta Flowers; snowboarder and silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis; Apolo Ohno, five-time speed skating medalist; and alpine skier Lindsey Vonn.
Per the company, Baver, Belbin, Flowers and Vonn will be aligned with P&G beauty brands, including Cover Girl, Olay, Olay Quench, Pantene, Secret, and Venus. Jacobellis and Ohno will be aligned with Vicks. The athletes appear in advertising, public relations, in-store merchandising, mobile, digital and direct mail.