Business News

Branding at the Olympics

2008-08-13 10:19:00

    NEW YORK, Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- As the Olympic Games unfold, the

branding experts at Siegel+Gale are available for comment on topics such as

how the Olympics are affecting the "brand" of China, how companies are

using the Olympics to further their brands, specific corporate ad

campaigns, branding through sports events in general, and other strategic

branding and positioning issues.

    Following are some comments by Larry Vincent, Siegel+Gale's Group

Director of Strategy in Los Angeles, and Julius Roberge, Siegel+Gale's

Strategy Director in New York, most recently relocated from Shanghai:

    Why Companies Align With the Olympics - Larry Vincent

    -- "Most companies align with the Olympics because they hope to borrow

equity or transfer goodwill from that of the Olympics to their own brands."

    -- "Twenty years ago it was a slam dunk. McDonald's and Coca-Cola

measured noticeable lifts in preference, favorability, and attitudes toward

the brand during the co-brand window of the Games."

    -- "1984 was the turning point, however. The Los Angeles Games, in some

ways, reinvented the sponsorship model (so much so that LA had a surplus of

funds after the Games). It was so successful, that more brands wanted in."

    -- "Today, sponsors have changed quite a bit: there are more of them

and the affiliation competes with branded partnerships in vastly more

channels and platforms."

    -- "The Olympic equity is still strong (although research shows that it

is the strongest when the Games are actually in progress), but it's harder

to transfer or borrow the equity."

    -- "'False reporting' of 'unaided awareness' of Olympic sponsorships is

on the rise (meaning, consumers attribute an Olympic sponsorship to the

wrong company) and ambush tactics by other marketers are more prolific. In

that context, you have to ask, 'What is the return on investment for a

company that spends millions to sponsor the Games, and millions more to

purchase the media that activates the sponsorship?'"

    -- "It still works for some. We expect Adidas, Coca-Cola, and

McDonald's will still do well. Part of that is the legacy. In Adidas' case,

it's the innovative way they've gone to market."

    -- "We do think the Olympics is a horrible place to debut new brands,

however. There is too much clutter and competition."

    -- "It CAN be an effective place to reposition a brand, particularly if

the brand is in the B2B space and the repositioning can occur onsite at the

events. Many of the attendees of Olympic events are executives (just like

the Super Bowl). UPS is using the Beijing Games as an interesting venue to

debut some of their new international brand activity."

    -- "Intuitively, we should be seeing international companies getting

more involved in the Games in the future. It can become the coming out

event for large international companies who wish to elevate brand awareness

on a global stage. But the challenge is that for many viewers, the brands

will be so foreign they won't know who they are or what they do. It

requires the brand to do a lot of seeding work before the Games begin, and

very aggressive follow-up work once the brand has launched with the marks."

    The "China Brand" - Julius Roberge

    -- "Until China, never before has the market potential of the host

country on its own been viewed as possibly worth the significant

investment. Despite the degree of controversy before the Games began, the

market opportunity seems irresistible."

    -- "The Olympics have a clear purpose for the "China" brand: to prove

to the world that China is capable of hosting Games at a quality level that

the Olympic brand, the athletes and spectators worldwide demand and


    -- "The China brand today is often correlated with low quality

(products), so the challenge is Herculean. With the world watching their

every step, success in Beijing will send a strong new message about China

as a world power. If it missteps, it will not soon have such visibility to

transform a lagging image."

    -- "It's safe to assume Americans understand that Olympic sponsorship

is not the same as supporting China's political policies. That said, given

the ongoing buzz and interest in how China enters the world stage, how a

brand behaves in and/or partners with China may draw more attention in the

future from international media, thus elevating the potential for a

negative effect on a brand's image. This may be more of a concern for B2B

organizations that deal more closely with the Chinese government or in

government monitored sectors."

    For more information, or to speak with Larry Vincent or Julius Roberge,

please contact Davia Temin or Trang Mar of Temin and Company at

212-588-8788 or [email protected].

    About Siegel+Gale

    Siegel+Gale ( is one of the world's premier

strategic branding companies. Since it was founded by Alan Siegel in 1969,

the firm has applied the art and science of simplicity to create branding

programs that have helped many of the world's best-known organizations

excel. Driven by its philosophy of "Simple is Smart," Siegel+Gale has led

the way in bringing innovation to the corporate branding field, including

transforming complex, incomprehensible customer communications into plain

English; helping clients create distinctive brand voices across all their

communications; transporting brands onto the Internet; and aligning the

brand experience for customers with the brand promise.

    The firm has worked with an array of leading organizations, including

American Express, AARP, College Board, Cornell University, Dell, Duke

University, Lexus,, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, the National

Basketball Association, 3M, Dow, and The Four Seasons Hotel Group, Sony,

and Yahoo! Siegel+Gale has full-service offices in New York, Los Angeles,

London, and Dubai and strategic partnerships around the world.

    Siegel+Gale is part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (, a

leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom's

branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising,

strategic media planning and buying, direct and promotional marketing,

public relations, and other specialty communications services to over 5,000

clients in more than 100 countries.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Alan Siegel" target="_new">

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