If you are a fan of NASCAR-like sponsorship, then the Olympics is not your place. Pristine venues, limited ad space, huge crackdowns on guerilla marketing and high values put on sponsorship have really kept London 2012, despite protests from athletes and some unique promotional attempts by competing brands, relatively clean and safe for Olympic brand partners.
So with the world watching over the weekend, what brand value did athletes like Sanya Richards-Ross and Usain Bolt bring to the brands that were allowed in and around the completion? Here are some numbers. Puma, Bolts’ brand of choice, got some of the most valuable less than 10 seconds in advertising history for the semi-finals and finals of the 100 meters Sunday, pulling in exposure on NBC valued at about $1.7 million, according to Comcast owned Front Row Marketing Analytics. What about Nike, which adorned USA’s Justin Gatlin in the semi-fInal and final? About $975,000 in brand value, according to Front Row. The difference, other than winning? Puma’s logo popped not just on shoes but sweat suit, on sweat suit, shirt & shorts, all of which came through during the post-event celebration and interviews. Gatlin’s missing piece? No logo adorned sweat suit for warmups, which when talking seconds of a race makes a big difference.
However Nike scored big on the placement for another track and field darling, South African Oscar Pistorius, who had logos adorning his prosthetics, gaining the swoosh another $50 k in branding despite the fact the running marvel did not make the final. Richards-Ross came up with exposure of a different kind, giving Chanel $400,000 in exposure for her custom earrings which she wore during the race and displayed in all her post-race media.
“Sunday night during the track & field events we saw the most branding on athletes and in some case unusual locations, in addition to Gatlin and Bolts exposure, with Pistorius, and Richards Ross,” said Eric Smallwood, SVP of Front Row Analytics. “Understanding the restrictions the IOC puts on brands with regards to the number, location and placement of logos on Athletes uniforms, the athletes have figured out ways to get some exposure for non-Olympic brands, including non-sport watches, earrings and headphones.”
The unique valuations for all these athletes and their brand partners are worth probably much more than their weight in gold for the short term, and scored high marks in creativity in an era where conservatism and restraint have become the norm, at least for some sponsors in London.