Visa, BP top Olympics buzz charts in US

10 August 2012

NEW YORK: Visa, BP and Acer are the sponsors of the Olympic Games which have recorded the greatest uptick in buzz among US consumers, according to new figures.

YouGov, the research group, polls 5,000 adults every weekday, monitoring whether they hear anything about the Games' partners through ads, news or word of mouth, and if this was positive or negative in tone.

Visa, the financial services provider, registered the largest improvement on this metric, as its index score rose from 8.2 points before the competition to 22.7 points once it began on July 27.

The company recently ran "real time" TV ads just after Kerri Walsh, Misty May-Treanor and Allyson Felix, all Visa-sponsored athletes, won their respective gold medals. Creative included actual event footage, as well as "cheers" that had been uploaded by users of Facebook, the social network.

Second place in the YouGov rankings went to BP, the oil firm, which has been tackling negative perceptions ever since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Its total climbed from –5.9 points to 2.6 points, an 8.5-point lift.

"We have seen the recovery with BP over the last year and a half," Ted Marzilli, global managing director for YouGov's BrandIndex, said. "But I think its association with the Olympics is showing benefits."

Acer, the IT group, took third, improving by 5.1 points to 8.9 points overall. Coca-Cola, the soft drinks maker, accrued an additional 3.5 points, taking it to 24 points in all.

McDonald's, the fast food network, was also up by 2.3 points to 16.1 points. The restaurant chain has faced criticism for sponsoring the Games because its food is not alway considered healthy, as has Coke, with its drinks attacked for similar reasons.

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola's CEO, stated 40% of drinks sold under Coke's trademark are now calorie free, and that it gives vital funds to the Games. "You can't just say, 'I'll take all the benefit and I'm always going to be critical'. There has to be a balanced approach," he said.

At the other end of the spectrum, BMW, the German automaker, had seen buzz levels contract by four points, dropping to 16.2 points. Holiday Inn, the hotel operator, lost 3.2 points, to 12.6 points.

General Electric, the conglomerate, witnessed a 2.4-point decline in its performance, to 9.4 points. The firm also revealed, however, that it has generated $1bn in infrastructure-based sales from the host cities during the last four Olympics, arguably a more tangible gain.

"GE partners closely with host cities to deliver a variety of critical healthcare, energy, power, water, lighting and transportation solutions for the Olympic Games,” said Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE.

Data sourced from YouGov, AdAge, Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff