Sponsorship to help P&G in emerging markets

30 July 2010

CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, has signed up to sponsor the Olympic Games for the next ten years, a move it hopes will enhance its position in emerging markets.

This agreement is the first time the International Olympic Committee has forged to a tie-up covering multiple brands, which will include offerings such as Crest, Gillette, Olay Pampers and Tide.

Marc Pritchard, P&G's global brand-building officer, argued that its affiliation with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver earlier this year had proved the ultimate efficacy of this strategy.

“We used Vancouver as a pilot programme, and then from there ... decided to go ahead and scale it up,” he said.

"We have generated up to $100 million in incremental sales [in the US]. We feel comfortable on building that on an international basis."

According to Pritchard, the “Thanks Mom” campaign during the Winter Games achieved an effectiveness level that was between 30% and 37% higher than the norm, and generated almost six billion impressions.

This platform was so successful that the company plans to replicate it for the 2012 London Games, featuring the mothers of sprinter Usain Bolt, long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe and swimmer Michael Phelps.

While not giving specific details about the financial arrangements surrounding its negotiations with the IOC, Pritchard suggested it constituted a “a very efficient spend.”

This was particularly the case given the Winter Games are to be staged in Sochi, Russia in 2014, while Rio de Janeiro is hosting the Summer Games in 2016.

Pritchard said the fact Procter & Gamble is “very interested” in the two host countries countries “certainly helped”.

“We definitely intend to use this as a way to build our developing markets,” he continued.

“We want to eventually reach all of the world's consumers. The fact that Sochi and Rio were part of the program really was excellent for us.”

Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, which also has partnerships in place with Coca-Cola and Visa, reported that brand owners were displaying a greater willingness to direct resources to just this kind of activity.

“The economy has not recovered at full but definitely the big crisis is hopefully over. There is an improving sponsorship climate,” he said.

“In 2007, 2008 and the beginning of 2009, there was a very cautious attitude. Most companies were holding cash, and did not want to invest. That is changing nowadays.”

Data sourced from Financial Times/Bloomberg/Associated Press; additional content by Warc staff