Procter & Gamble is activating around the London Paralympic Games as part of its global partnership with the International Olympic Committee. The company's efforts include a cause-marketing component comprising a grant of $50,000 to fund youth sports programs targeting children with physical disabilities.
The grant is part of the company’s donation to the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) P&G|Team USA Youth Sports Fund, which provides broader access to youth sports programs in the United States.
The packaged goods giant is also extending its Olympic-focused "Thank You, Mom" campaign where parents of U.S. Paralympians will get a gift of a $1,000 Visa reward card to help offset the travel costs of athletes’ families to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Paralympian families get beauty services from P&G brands Pantene and CoverGirl while in London.
The partnership also includes a marketing campaign with real-time social media support and PR. In April, the company launched a social media campaign around "Thank You, Mom." As part of that the company has donated a dollar for every "like" on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thankyoumom.
A U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor of the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, P&G that year became a top-tier worldwide sponsor of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a $100-million 10-year deal. Other worldwide partners are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, DOW, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung, and Visa. P&G's overall sponsorship this year included relationships with 28 U.S. athletes around 13 of its brands. The group includes Paralympians Kortney Clemons, Marlon Shirley, Jerome Singleton, and Mallory Weggemann.
Glenn Williams, communications manager for P&G's U.S. Olympics program, tells Marketing Daily the company's efforts include distribution via social media of its “Raising an Olympian” film featuring Clemons. The film details how the sprinter lost his right leg serving as a medic in Iraq. Like the other two- to three-minute documentary films in the series, it includes interviews with his mom about how he overcame the injury and became an athlete.
"The other athletes are involved in public relations and real-time social media efforts leading up to and during the Paralympic Games," he says. "Jerome Singleton is the only athlete who represents a specific brand -- Gillette -- while the rest are part of our corporate P&G brand."
He explains that at Vancouver, P&G had limited involvement with the Paralympics. "London will be the first time we have sponsored Paralympic athletes from Team USA," he says, adding that London is also the site of the first Paralympic Games, "so there is an exciting tie to the history of the movement. At P&G, our London Olympic Games campaign was our largest marketing campaign in our company’s 175-year history, including our efforts around the Paralympics."
The Games, which start Wednesday and run through Sept. 9, will be the largest ever in terms of participation and coverage. Some 4,200 athletes from 150 countries will compete, and organizers say the Paralympics will also get its largest global audience in the Games' history. (Although the Paralympics movement did, indeed, begin with a group of British World War II veterans in 1948, it was at the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics that the Paralympics for the first time occurred right after the Olympics and used the same venue.)
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said the number of Rights Holding Broadcasters for the games breaks records, with the games expected to be broadcast to around 220 countries. In the U.S., the U.S. Olympic Committee will do original video content for the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel as well as partnering with NBC Universal and the International Paralympic Committee, per the organization.
Williams sees it as a growing movement. "We heard from our athletes that they’ve done more media interviews than ever before this year, have had more awareness of their sports and more excitement from fans," he says, adding that the South African runner who competed in the Olympics helped.
"Oscar Pistorius has absolutely raised the profile of the Paralympic Games globally. Our friend Jerome Singleton said recently that he has a desire to always push for inclusion instead of exclusion, and that Oscar going out there and going to the Olympics and really pushing for inclusion and blurring the lines of what people term a 'disability' is really important."