BP ‘changes gear’ of Olympic activity

BP is “changing gear” with its Olympics marketing activity a month before the Games by focusing on the emotional aspect of the event rather than the more practical side of its sponsorship activation.

BP’s outdoor ad at Clear Channel’s Cromwell Road site in London

The top tier sponsor’s latest Olympic multimedia marketing campaign, using the strapline “Here’s to the home team”, aims to highlight the work that has gone into the event from both athlete ambassadors and behind the scenes staff such as road sweepers, tea ladies and groundsmen.

One of the main pillars of the campaign is the complete takeover of the UK’s largest advertising site at Cromwell Road, London, which will feature “3D” cut-outs of BP’s six athlete ambassadors surrounded by the rings of the brand’s helios logo.

Other creative used on TV, press and digital will juxtapose the athletes with mirror-images of volunteers and behind the scenes workers. Consumers can choose to find out more about their stories via YouTube and BP’s other social media channels as well as voting for others who have made a contribution to the Games. The campaign creative was created by Ogilvy.

Duncan Blake, BP’s director of brand, says he wants the campaign to create an overriding emotion of pride and excitement in the lead up to and during the Games.

He says: “It’s about instilling pride in the home team and pride in the country for putting on a great show and the recognition of all the hard work that has gone into making this happen…it will be transformational for some people, especially our own people who [have been enthused] with energy and excitement.”

The first wave of BP’s Olympic activity highlighted the practical work the company was working on at the Games. This included fuelling the Olympic fleet, offering to offset spectators’ journeys and its work on the Cultural Olympiad.

Blake says the company will still continue with is fuel messaging, especially in sites such as Heathrow where visited may not have seen the previous campaign.

Some criticism has been levelled at BP sponsoring the Olympics by activists who argue its business practices do not fit with the event, especially since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

Blake says the campaign has not necessarily attempted to address such criticism in its Olympics marketing, adding that it is focused on delivering a lasting contribution as a company that has resided in London for the last 100 years. He adds that the activity, including its work on biofuels and arts and culture, is a “natural extension” of the work BP already does in the UK.

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