Olympics 2012: The latest

Marketing Week delves into the latest Olympic activity to bring you news, views and observations from London 2012. What Olympic marketing has grabbed your eye? Let us know in the comments below.

UPDATE 17:30: Nike has launched its final attempt to gatecrash the London 2012 Games with an outdoor push to congratulate brand ambassador Mo Farah’s historic double gold winning performance at the event. The advert uses the strapline ‘Twice the Guts. Double the Glory’ alongside the legs of a runner. It comes just two weeks after the brand launched an ad campaign starring former Team GB athlete Paula Radcliffe, a day after she pulled out of the Olympics due to injury.


UPDATE 14.30: Olympic sponsors Procter & Gamble, Cadbury, Visa and Lloyds share their thoughts on the sponsorship lessons marketers can take from the London 2012 Games to apply to future events here.

UPDATE 10:30: Adidas, British Airways and Procter & Gamble are among several brands to appear on Marketing Week’s pick of the winners (and loser) to emerge from the Games with gold standard campaigns. Read it here to find out which other brands made the cut.

UPDATE 13/08/12 09:30: After an amazing 2012 Olympics, Team GB are in the mood for a party. Adidas has brought together a selection of the country’s Olympians to bring the curtain down on what has been a great Games for the brand. The video features medallists including Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis performing their own version of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, while David Beckham plays the role of the director. The Brownlee brothers – Alistair and Jonny- also appear along with Phillips Idowu and Laura Trott.


UPDATE: 16:10: American broadcaster NBC has suffered criticism for its Olympic coverage – especially its decision to show highlights on delay in prime time, making up for the time difference with London. A Gallup poll shows most Americans want NBC to broadcast events live so their enjoyment of watching isn’t spoiled by learning the result online.

That might hold some lessons for how the UK’s official broadcaster should deal with the second social media Olympics in Brazil in four years. But NBC’s record-breaking Olympic ad sales also suggest London 2012 could have been commercially lucrative for ITV or another commercial broadcaster, had it been chosen to provide the coverage.

UPDATE 12:47: Official partner of the Games John Lewis has wrapped its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street in a giant Union Flag. BlowUp media provides the inside-track on how and why it was done in the video below.

UPDATE 12:10: It’s not only current Olympians who are cashing in on Olympic fever. Five-time gold medal winning rower Sir Steve Redgrave has lent his name to a mobile game, developed by Moshen. Sir Steve Redgrave’s River Adventures, oddly, sees him dodging crocodiles while hunting Aztec gold on exotic river routes. Fellow BBC commentator and former Olympic runner Michael Johnson also has his own fitness-themed app.


UPDATE 10:20: Marketing Week was lucky enough to visit Coke’s Riverfront Olympics HQ last night along with a visit to the Beatbox installation in the Olympic Park. We were interested to spot a Coke Freestyle machine in the flesh. These machines allow consumers to mix their own versions of Coca-Cola drinks. We created the ‘Marketing Week’ – a sugary combination of Dr Pepper, Fanta Strawberry and Fanta Cherry (and possibly a few other things). You can see the machine below:


UPDATE 10/08/12 10:10: Holiday Inn, the official hotel services provider of the Games, is projecting images of winning athletes on the Holiday Inns in their home towns. Holiday Inn Norwich City has been illuminated in recognition of local hero, Nick Dempsey and his Olympic silver medal for Windsurfing. The projection (which you can see below) shows Nick surfing with a bed sheet in a hotel room.

Sport holiday Inn Games 2012


UPDATE 15:19: BP’s Olympic sponsorship appears to have done the impossible and restored its reputation in the US – at least temporarily. The British oil giant’s American TV ads are a heart-rending tribute to Team USA, and they have seen perceptions of BP rise more than any other brand except Visa, according to YouGov’s US BrandIndex data. It may take more than this to expunge the long-term memory of 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion off the southern US coast, however.


UPDATE 13:01: Cadbury is inviting visitors to Cadbury House in the Olympic Park to leave their messages of Joy to the athletes on the walls. Wellwishers can also tweet @DairyMilk to see their message decorating Cadbury’s home within the Park.


UPDATE 11:40: London 2012 partner BMW has managed to get around a ban on advertising inside Olympic venues. The car marque is using radio-controlled versions of its iconic Mini range to move track and field equipment around the venue. The IOC says that no rules are being broken because the cars do not feature any branding, however Mini’s tagline “It’s a MINI adventure” is clearly printed on the cars. It marks a boost to the car brand’s profile given the global audience of the Games, but could open the floodgates for other sponsors to bend the IOC branding rules in future.


UPDATE 11:24: Olympic sponsor Lloyds questions the “oversensitive” sponsorship laws by Games organisers because of the negative impact thay have on the way customers view their brands. Read more about it here.

UPDATE 10:42: Below is a picture of a bobsleigh simulator at Olympic partner brand Dow’s experiential area in Hyde Park, seen by Marketing Week yesterday. The area is trying to raise awareness about the fact that Dow is providing technology to the next Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014.

Dow experiential

UPDATE 10:42: Just a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park in Hackney, Channel 4 has erected outdoor ads using its usual irreverant style to thank the Olympics for the “warm up” to the Paralympic Games, of which it is the official broadcaster.

Channel 4 Paralympics ad

UPDATE 09/08/12 10:10: If you thought the ‘Olympics brand police’ stories had ground to a halt, you’d be wrong. A Brighton butcher is complaining that he was forced to take down a Games-themed BBQ display from outside his shop. A handwritten advert offered “Bolt Burgers” and “Olympic Torch Kebabs” among other themed foodstuffs. He also featured a cut-out of the Olympic rings. Luckily, the butcher is capitalising on his brush with the brand police by publicising his story in the local press, so it’s not all bad for him. To see our story on other Olympic branding breaches, click here.

UPDATE 15:11: Nike is urging the fans of its Facebook page to “Find [Their] Greatness” on 12 August, the date of the closing ceremony when presumably sports fans will be left twitching their fingers looking for their next fitness fix. It is hoping to make the day Olympic sport stops “the most active day ever” by encouraging Nike+ customers to share their stats whilst playing their favourite sports.

Nike Find Your Greatness

UPDATE 15:00: Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins were among several Team GB medal winners who attended a surprise live performance from The Stone Roses at Adidas’ Olympic party earlier this week. The underground event was also attended by some of the brand’s celebrity ambassadors such as rapper Wretch 32 and musician Paul Weller. The party, held in Shoreditch, formed one of a series of events created by Adidas during the London 2012 Games.


UPDATE 13:20: Halfords is looking to extend its performance bikes range following Team GB’s success. Read the story here.

Victoria Pendleton

UPDATE 10:40: Nike continues to try and steal the advertising spotlight around this year’s Games with the latest TV spot for its Jordan brand’s RiseAbove campaign. The Wieden + Kennedy created commercial charts the careers of two young basketball players in China and America up until they face off against each other at the 2032 Olympic Games – which is apparently being held in Cairo, Egypt. If you like the advert read about the RiseAbove Twitter campaign the sports brand is running around the London 2012 basketball games here.


UPDATE 08/08/12 09:45: Sponsors including BP, BT, Sainsbury’s and Lloyds TSB are planning a major ad drive for what one marketer calls the “challenger” Paralympics brand. Read the story here.

UPDATE 17:10: Visa has launched the latest ad in its ‘Flow Faster’ campaign starring Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt. The ten-second spot aired just hours (6 August) after the Jamaican sprinter was crowned 100m Olympic champion and used footage from the race. The Saatchi & Saatchi created ad shows Bolt pulling his signature ‘lightning bolt’ pose, while a voiceover says “Congratulations Usain on flowing faster.”



UPDATE 16:37: Sports specialists retailers and gyms are feeling the halo effect of Team GB’s success. Read the full story here.

Jessica Ennis

UPDATE 15:25: Olympic TV coverage has reached more than 50 million people in the UK, 88% of the population, according to analysis by the International Olympic Committee. Its total global reach is estimated to be 4.8 billion. And according to YouGov’s SoMA social media measurement tool, Olympics-related tweets are reaching around 90% of UK users on Twitter.

UPDATE 13:01: Marketing Week’s Michael Barnett says independent programmers have shown Olympic organisers how unmanageable systems can be translated into something digestible. Read his column here.

UPDATE 10:00: Olympic sponsor UPS is running a print campaign today, congratulating Team GB gymanist Louis Smith and Ben Ainslie for their medal wins at the weekend. Fellow sponsor GSK is also getting in on the action with a tactical push to laud gynamist Beth Tweddle’s routine in the uneven bars final yesterday (6 August) where she took the Bronze medal.


UPDATE 07/08/12 09:44: BBC smashed the record for Olympic viewing figures once again on Sunday, with more than 20 million people tuning in live to see Usain Bolt win the 100 metre sprint gold medal. Sunday’s viewing figures made grim reading for ITV, which was eclipsed by BBC 3 for the first time in the ratings, with the commercial broadcaster marking its lowest ever audience share figures in its 57-year history as Olympic fever grips the nation.

UPDATE 17:20: McDonald’s has accused arch-rival Burger King of ambush marketing in Brazil, according to reports. Burger King is running a local promotion offering a portion of double fries as part of a meal on the days after Brazil wins a medal at the Games. The promotion kicked off 27 July and runs until 13 August. It is being advertised with an image of a hand holding a pack of fries so that it resembles the Olympic torch, and also talks about Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Olympic sponsor McDonald’s has reported the campaign to the IOC, which is yet to take any action.



UPDATE 17:15: The first brand you notice when travelling to the Olympic park is McDonald’s which is advertising on all the corridors of Stratford Underground station, with its ‘We all make the games’ campaign, which does seem fitting creative for the emotions Brits have been feeling over the last few days.

BP box

Go into the park itself and sponsors Acer, Panasonic, Samsung and BP (above) all have big box experiences dotted about, but it seemed difficult to get people into them with so much other action going on. The busiest places – venues aside – are the giant McDonald’s, the big BA Park Live screens and the merchandise shops.

UPDATE 16:52: Tonight BT will launch a brand campaign to illustrate how the sponsor is “bringing people together” via its fibre optic network to share the great moments of London 2012. Take a sneak peak at the TV ad, which was created by AMV BBDO, below.


UPDATE 11:49: Jessica Ennis is set to double her sponsorship earnings following her gold winning success at London 2012 and other Team GB athletes are set for a boost too. Read the story here.

UPDATE 10:13: The Olympics has helped drive a surge in spend in outdoor advertising. Read the story here.

UPDATE 06/08/12 10:00: This weekend the BBC clocked up its highest ever Olympics ratings yet, with some 17.1 million people tuning in to watch Mo Farah win his 10,000 metre gold.

This weekend the BBC also revealed how its digital services have been doing over the Olympic period with a handy chart on its BBC Internet blog (below). Records for visits to the BBC Sport website have smashed the Beeb’s previous global record of 7.4 million unique global users.

BBC Graph

UPDATE 17:30: Marketing Week is lucky enough to be at the Olympic park, watching the games on British Airways’ big screen, the only one on the site with live coverage (see pic below). BA’s Park Live is also showing #homeadvantage Twitter pics of the crowd, fan of the day and appearances from celebrities and athletes.

BA is handing out England flag mats to sit on, wipes, sunscreen and BA tattoos for kids. They are calling it the Henman Hill of London 2012.

BA live screen

UPDATE 14:55 Below is a nice infographic from researchers GfK showing the social media stats around Gold medalist Bradley Wiggins. You can also see it on Marketing Week’s Pinterest board here.

Bradley Wiggins social stats infographic GfK


UPDATE 12:35 Interesting article in the Evening Standard finding out how so many sportsmen and women are suddenly wearing Beats headphones by Dr Dre. A clever ambush marketing ploy where athletes simply visit a brand hub in East London, get their picture with said headphones and then head back to the Olympic Village to show them off.

Our reporter Seb Joseph has also been doing some digging to find out how the brand has managed to managed to evade the Olympic brand police: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/dr-dre-beats-olympic-brand-police/4003022.article

UPDATE 03/03/12 11:43 Can you knight a man twice? That’s what Procter & Gamble is asking this morning in a host of print ads running in today’s papers to celebrate the amazing Gold medal win from Sir Chris Hoy yesterday. Hoy, one of P&G’s Gillette brand ambassadors won his fifth Olympic Gold yesterday in the team sprint in the Velodrome.

Chris Hoy

Hoy was knighted after winning three golds at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. His achievement yesterday is in stark contrast with the disappointment his team mate and fellow cyclist Victoria Pendleton is feeling today after being disqualified out of the women’s team sprint yesterday after her wheel fractionally overtook her team mate’s across the finish line.

Team GB cyclists are still dominating the Olympic headlines, as Sir Chris Hoy last night equalled Sir Steve Redgrave’s record of five Olympic gold medals. With one more medal shot left, he could match Bradley Wiggins’ British record of six Olympic medals overall. But will Hoy’s all be gold, and will a head-to-head race ensue between Team GB’s two men of the moment, to snap up sponsorship deals after the Games?

UPDATE 16:59 Kristin Thayer, who looks after Facebook’s platform partnerships, says it is up to organisations like the IOC to police marketing regulations around sponsorship on social media [not the social media sites themselves]. She is speaking at Havas’ “#Social Media & Entertainment @ Olympics event”.

UPDATE 16:11 Bradley Wiggins’ recent wins are set to spark a sponsorship boom for the cyclist. Read the story here. The mod enthusiast has already signed up with Fred Perry (see picture below) for a six season deal to front a collaborative cyclewear range.

Bradley Wiggins Fred Perry

UPDATE 15:49: Rosie Baker says retailers suffering from the flipside to Olympic fever (a lack of custom) in central and West London should roll out tactical marketing activity to get the tills ringing once again. Read her column here.

UPDATE 14:50: Wigg-mania has enveloped the nation, and it has even reached the Times, which today features a fold-out cover-wrap commemorating Bradley Wiggins becoming Britain’s most decorated Olympian. The inside covers have a double-page Samsung ad congratulating the British men’s rowing eight, who won bronze yesterday.

Bradley Wiggins Times commemorative cover

UPDATE 13:00: Marketing Week was lucky enough to go to the Aquatic centre last night to see Brit Michael Jamieson take home silver. We also noted more Dr Dre headphones on US swimmer Michael Phelps and some striking gold glittery Ugg boots on another competitor.

Michael Jamieson wins silver


UPDATE 11:48: Bing’s homepage features a striking image of Team GB’s golden boy Bradley Wiggins. Everyone’s favourite mod cyclist has also lent his weight to the campaign for cycling safety. Read the story here.

IPC Cyclathon

UPDATE 02/08/2012 10:25: Olympic sponsor EDF Energy added a touch of gold to London’s skyline last night when it lit the London Eye gold to commemorate Team GB’s first winners, rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning and cyclist Bradley Wiggins. The energy supplier launched what it claims is the world’s first social media driven lightshow last week. During the Games, EDF is running a nightly lightshow around the London attraction that reflects the mood of the public towards the Games, defined by their posts on Twitter.


UPDATE 16:09: We’re not sure if Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome winning gold and bronze respectively in the men’s cycling time trial counts as ambush marketing, but even BBC commentators have had trouble this week calling them Team GB and not Team Sky. Another Royal Mail stamp, and a knighthood, can’t be far behind for Wiggins. We just wonder if he’ll shave his sideburns for his meeting with the Queen.

UPDATE 15:37: Royal Mail is quick off the mark. It’s already got a limited edition Olympic stamp featuring Team GB’s first Gold medial winners rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glove in production. The commemorative gold stamp will be available within the next 24 hours. The plan is to printing a stamp for every gold medal that our Olympic team wins at the London Games, let’s hope there’s more on the way.

Royal Mail Gold medal commemorative stamp

It will also paint gold a post box in the home town of each athlete that wins Gold so that the community can celebrate and remember the achievement.

UPDATE 15:16: Publisher IPC is certainly getting into the Olympic spirit.

Every time Team GB wins a gold medal, an announcement is made over the company tannoy and a burst of the national anthem is played (hopefully this will happen more often now the medals have started trickling in).

For the duration of the Games, IPC staff have the chance to participate in an IPC-wide Cyclathon attempt to cycle 500 miles – approximately double the distance of the combined men’s and women’s Olympic cycling road races. Staff members will pedal on two exercise bikes (as demonstrated below) and in return for a £2 donation to SHHiRT, (IPC’s charity of the year) they can clock up as many miles as they can in 10 minutes to contribute to an overall total.

The company is also hosting the “IPC Cultural Olympiad”, featuring painting, photography and crafts competitions.

There is even Olympic-themed food being served in the staff canteen (Ringed donuts, Golden Wonder crisps and pork medallions perhaps?).

IPC Cyclathon

UPDATE 15:03: There is now video footage of our suspended Mayor winning comedy gold.

UPDATE 13.26: Mayor of London Boris Johnson is apparently suspended mid air after he decided to trial the zip wire at BT’s London Live at Victoria Park. Twitter user @rebeccasbrain posted the photo below which appears to show him stuck half way on his descent. Boris – as ever – still looks jovial regardless.

Boris Johnson Suspended Zip Wire

UPDATE 12:48: Read Marketing Week editor Ruth Mortimer’s view on how the IOC’s Olympic brand blockade is starting to break.

UPDATE 12:00: Three working days into the Olympics, London businesses have begun to cry foul that pre-Games scaremongering has chased customers away. Central London restaurants say midweek bookings are down, while retailers report slowing sales. As the public transport system appears to be seeing fewer travellers, not more, questions are being asked about whether warnings of overcrowding will end up costing the economy money when it should be buoyant from Games visitors.

UPDATE 10:10: Both The Sun and The Daily Mirror are trying to take a cut of the nation’s growing Olympic fever today by offering readers the chance to emulate Tour de France champion and Team GB medal hopeful Bradley Wiggins. They hope that by wearing cut-outs of Wiggins’ trademark sideburns, fans will help cheer the cyclist to gold during his 27-mile time trial later on today.

Wiggins Sideburns Sun Mirror

UPDATE 09:49: The TV ad market is not set to experience its expected boost once the final strip of ticker tape falls to the ground after the closing ceremony, suggesting non-sponsors are still reining in spend. Read the story here.

UPDATE 01/08/12 09:00: Olympic sponsor IHG has been forced to defend itself against damaging allegations of price fixing. Read the story here.

UPDATE 16:05: We’re being sent a number of Olympics infographics and pinning them to our “Inspiration” board on Pinterest. Come and visit us over on Pinterest to have a look at them. You can find us here.

UPDATE 15:01: The IOC insists naming London 2012 “the social media Olympics” was not a bad idea, despite several Twitter-related embarrassments. Read the story here.

Tom Daley Twitter

UPDATE 14:30: Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony got rave reviews in the press, but Kantar has been busy churning the Twitter data from the evening to find the social network users’ favourite bits. The most liked section was the flaming Olympic rings, with 1,300 positive tweets and 700 negative at 21:24, while Twitter was less enthusiastic about the opening ‘Industrial Revolution’ part. Around 745,000 tweets specifically referred to the show on the night. YouGov confirms that Olympic-related tweets reached 86% of UK Twitter users that day, more than any day before or since.

UPDATE 13.01: The sneaky people from Beats By Dr Dre have managed to escape the wrath of Locog after what looks like a succesful ambush marketing attempt. Read the story here to see how it got Team GB atheletes to endorse the brand.

UPDATE 11.20: Adidas has launched a campaign to push its


Ruth Mortimer

Olympic sponsors still have time to strike gold

Ruth Mortimer

The Olympic Games get underway on Friday, but the marketing of the event still dominates the headlines rather than the competitors. During the Beijing Games in 2008, there was lots of talk of ambush marketing, legacy and sponsor impact but not to the extent that we have already seen in London. The International Olympic Committee […]


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