Olympic sponsorship falls short

26 July 2012

LONDON: Over 50% of consumers in the UK are not able to identify even one sponsor of the Olympic Games with absolute certainty, new figures show.

Third City, the agency, and ICM, the survey firm, asked 2,013 adults to tell them which brand owners were officially linked with the Games, a group including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Visa.

In all, 24% of respondents could not think of a single corporation boasting this status, and 33% were willing to guess, but without being sure their answer would be correct.

Totals improved in London, which is hosting the Games, as some 80% of participants from the UK's capital recalled one or more of the 14 main sponsors.

"Advertising that offers no promise, support or reason-to-believe looks like wallpaper," Mark Lowe, founding partner at Third City, told Marketing, the trade magazine.

"Unfortunately, too many Olympic sponsorships fall into this category," he added. "Just 'badging' a major event, no matter how high profile, just isn't enough anymore."

A separate study released by Research Now, the insights provider, based on data from 7,200 people in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and US found similar uncertainty existed internationally.

For example, 67% of the French panel and 60% of their American counterparts wrongly suggested Nike was a sponsor of the competition. Another 49% of French shoppers incorrectly gave Evian this role.

In the UK, 21% of contributors thought Red Bull had paid to be affiliated with the Games, while 14% named Google and Microsoft, despite the fact neither firm is formally involved.

Elsewhere, 46% of the UK sample stated there was "no connection" between McDonald's and the Games, reaching 21% in the US. Scores here stood at 28% and 21% for Coca-Cola respectively.

Moreover, 62% of individuals questioned worldwide agreed they would not be interested in buying products from any of the organisations sponsoring the Olympics.

Data sourced from Marketing/Research Now; additional content by Warc staff