P&G aiming for gold with Olympic partnership

Marc Pritchard
Marc Pritchard

Procter & Gamble (P&G) hopes its sponsorship of the Olympic Games will help its brands reach almost a billion new customers over the next five years. P&G global marketing and brand building officer Marc Pritchard tells Marketing Week how this will be achieved and how the partnership will be leveraged.

The Gillette and Duracell maker signed a decade-long deal with the International Olympic Committee yesterday (28 July). The agreement spans five Olympic Games starting with the London Games in 2012, before moving onto Russia in 2014 and Brazil in 2016.

Pritchard says that its plans for a “far-reaching” programme around the Games will help accelerate growth in developing markets and extend its reach in the territories where its brands are already strong.

“This [the Olympic partnership] allows us to reach the 4.2 billion consumers we already reach and puts us on our way to the 5 billion goal we have in the next five years.

“It really allows us to touch more consumers with our brands. It will also increase the favourability of our brands and the favourability of our company and of course build our business,” he adds.

Pritchard’s confidence stems from P&G successful experience at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, where it sponsored the US team and many of its high-profile athletes.

“Vancouver really proved to us that this could work. We generated $100m in incremental sales, enjoyed a market share bump and 6 billion consumer impressions,” he claims.

The new global deal allows P&G to use the Olympic rings in marketing campaigns for brands such as Pampers and Ariel. It also presents the company with the opportunity to forge partnerships with athletes from all competing nations.

Pritchard says that his marketing team are currently working on plans for its Top 50 brands “to come up with Olympic-themed ideas that will best work”. He adds they will use the experience of what worked at the Vancouver games to help them match the right athletes with the right brands.

“You look at a brand and think about the equity of that brand. For instance in Vancouver, speed skater Apolo Ohno was matched with Vicks because he is involved in a high intensity sport, while skater Tanith Belbin needs to be fearless so that is why Secret worked.”

The London Games in 2012 will present P&G with its first opportunity to work with athletes representing the host nation. Pritchard says that preliminary discussions have already taken place with British Olympic chiefs to determine what local marketing opportunities there might be.

“This [deal] allows you to reach out to those associations and identify with them the athletes that you want to sponsor. And we will certainly be looking at Team GB athletes that we want to sponsor as part of this programme,” he says.

P&G becomes the eleventh partner of the Olympic movement. The IOC has a policy of never disclosing the value of the deals it has signed with the likes of Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Visa.

Pritchard too would not be drawn on the value of the deal except to say that the partnership represents good value given the scale of the marketing potential around the five Games it will be involved in.

“These kind of events leverage the scale of our company. In many cases when you bring many brands together it is more efficient than individually, that also has a big business benefit.”

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