I don’t get Jamie Oliver’s connection with Samsung

Lucy Handley is Marketing Week’s deputy features editor and has also worked in advertising agencies so can bring a unique perspective to client-agency relationships when writing on this topic.

Jamie Oliver has launched Samsung’s Olympic running app, but I’m not sure about his involvement with the brand.

I went to the launch of Samsung’s Hope Relay this morning – its new smartphone app that will track the miles that people run. For every mile, Samsung will donate £1 to various charities including Kids Company in the UK and the 2012 legacy ‘programme’ International Inspiration.

Samsung’s ambassador Jamie Oliver was there, as was British cyclist Victoria Pendleton (pictured below, with Kids Company’s founder Camilla Batmanghelidjh), who explained that the aim of the app is to allow ‘everyone’ to take part in the Olympic games. That is, everyone with an Android phone happy to share their efforts with Facebook and Samsung.

Jamie Oliver, Victoria Pendleton, Camilla Batmanghelidjh

It’s a nice idea to encourage people to keep fit, let them know how far they have run using GPS tracking and for the brand to donate to charity, but Oliver’s involvement is confusing.

Asked what nutrition tips he had for children who might want to download the app and do some running, he mentioned his passion for kids to eat healthy diets.

Rightly so, but he seemed a bit confused about the connection, saying something about the excitement for cooking being similar to the excitement for sport. He’s also going to get his family to run, canoe or scoot their miles while being tracked on the app, but almost made a joke about not being too sporty, though I suspect he’d been warned not to talk about that.

Apparently, Oliver is the ‘white goods’ ambassador for Samsung, but Samsung is the worldwide wireless communications partner of the Olympics: it does not provide fridges. The chef is giving a book away to people who buy a Samsung dual cook oven. But beyond this, I don’t get the connection and I’m not sure he does either.

I get why Samsung is a sponsor – the Games needs good wifi and phones. I’m not sure about Cadbury’s or McDonald’s involvement and I think they have to fight a bit harder to explain to the public why they are sponsors. Chocolate and sport or a chef and a mobile phone brand I don’t get.

After the presentation at London’s City Hall, everyone trouped outside to see Pendleton and Oliver do their first mile, using the Hope Relay app. Oliver changed out of his non-sponsor Nike trainers into some official Adidas ones and several people in suits also donned a pair to walk their first mile.

But the combination of suit trousers, a tracksuit top, trainers and an umbrella is odd – rather like the combination of a chef and a mobile phone brand.

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