Johnson & Johnson, Piqued, Pulls Global Olympic Sponsorship

19 November 2008

LANGHORNE, Pennsylvania: US healthcare colossus Johnson & Johnson is to pull out of an Olympics sponsorship deal said to be worth around $100 million (€78.8m; £66.48m) over the next four years. The reason? Not pecuniary but pique.

Those in the know say that the flounce-out was motivated by J&J's frustration at the lack of people admitted to the sponsors' area during the Beijing Games – allegedly due to insecurity over security.

As a result, the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010 and the London event in 2012 are currently short of a cool $100m.

In less turbulent fiscal times there would be little difficulty in replacing one sponsor with another – even at that level of investment – but J&J's defection follows that of three other major world players, Kodak, Lenovo and ManuLife.

Johnson & Johnson was zip-lipped about the reason for its withdrawal, seeking refuge in the time-honoured cliché that the pull-out would "enable the company to focus on other business priorities".

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff