On track for a piece of the in-store action

Brands are scoring points at the point of sale for this summer’s London 2012 Olympics. Maeve Hosea picks out the more memorable ways sponsors are activating sponsorship in-store.


McDonald’s – tier one worldwide partner

Food for thought


McDonald’s has been part of the Olympic movement since 1976, and in 1997 the fast food chain became a worldwide partner. To shout about this association to customers visiting its restaurants the chain has created its largest-ever in-store campaign.

The in-store part of the ‘We All Make The Games’ campaign that has been running since June on TV, outdoor, press and online also includes a visual graphic, created by The Marketing Store, designed to celebrate all the people whose excitement, enthusiasm and contributions help make the Games a success.

The crowd image takes the form of a mosaic made up of photos of the staff, partners and customers who make the games happen. The Mosaic design is incorporated into window friezes, hanging mobiles and tray-liners, all celebrating the contributions of individuals.

“The in-store activation for the Olympic Park restaurants has been innovative as we’ve never worked on P-O-P or in-store materials on this scale before,” says Alistair Macrow, vice-president of marketing at McDonald’s UK.

The four Olympic Park restaurants will display a total of 232sq ft of menu backlit space, he adds. The brand expects to serve many customers at London 2012, offering around 1.75 million meals in four weeks to spectators, a workforce of 200,000 and 17,000 athletes, so it is hoping its biggest ever in-store campaign will make an impact.

Coca-Cola – tier one worldwide partner

Creating some fizz


Building on its long-term support of the Olympics over 80 years, Coca-Cola continues to activate its ‘Move to the Beat’ theme, a campaign that fuses Olympic sport with London-based music in an attempt to connect with a youth audience.

Consistent messaging is key to the in-store part of the campaign, says Zoe Howorth, marketing director at Coca-Cola GB. Music and sports promotions are used to create interest in-store, she points out.

“We use the various Olympic assets we already have as part of brand campaigns to drive consistency,” she says. “For example, shoppers can win private concerts with bands or one of the Mini Beat vehicles from the Olympic torch relay. We believe a consistent message to our consumers and shoppers across our marketing campaigns and direct in-store engagement helps to amplify the celebration of the Olympics.”

Visa – tier one worldwide partner



Payments brand Visa is helping retailers bask in the glory of London 2012. With strict marketing restrictions in place it can be difficult for the high street to benefit from the emotive power of the Olympics without a direct sponsorship association. With this in mind, sponsor Visa’s way of activating its relationship with the Games further is to offer an integrated point of sale campaign with a range of retailers in the central London shopping precinct of Covent Garden. This activity, which aims to drive preference for payment by Visa, runs in tandem with Visa’s comprehensive marketing campaign across the country for London 2012.

The financial services brand is offering retailers Olympic- and Paralympic-themed P-O-P material to display in their stores at the point of sale and in windows. Selected retailers are further incentivised by being able to give away Visa Olympics-themed pins with each Visa card purchase.

“Retailer engagement is a key part of our Games sponsorship campaign,” says Steve Perry, an executive vice-president at Visa Europe. “It plays a crucial role in our strategy alongside athlete sponsorship, branding and showcasing the latest in payments technology.”

Adidas – tier two London 2012 Olympic partner

Fancy footwork

The in-store environment is a crucial element of Adidas’s sponsor activation and the brand is aiming to bring the relationship with the Olympic Games alive in the retail environment in a range of ways.

Adidas is further cementing its status as official sportswear partner of London 2012 through large-scale retail campaigns. In department store Harrods, for example, athlete images are on lift fronts and up stairwells.

Nick Craggs, Adidas UK & Ireland marketing director, says: “Across our own Adidas-branded fascias we have activated the campaign with multiple windows in every store, giving us the opportunity to focus on a different athlete manifesto in each window and amplify the brand story across multiple sports. This is extended in-store through visual merchandising sites that showcase product plus a plethora of in-store graphics and P-O-P.”

Craggs adds that the retail environment is where the brand is able to use technology to “push boundaries and surpass expectations”.

A virtual footwear wall is helping Adidas to bring to life its products in-store. Installed in the flagship Oxford Street store, the wall allows customers to pre-order footwear, which Craggs describes as a “virtual shelf”.

Omega – tier one worldwide partner

Timing is everything


High-end watch brand Omega is using a mixture of design and technology to draw attention to its Olympic sponsorship in-store. Omega’s presence at the London 2012 games is in the guise of the official timekeeper, responsible for timekeeping, distance-measuring, scoreboard displays and distribution of results. Alongside a TV commercial featuring images of Olympic hopefuls in the moments immediately prior to an event, Omega is running a print campaign that is also present in its stores.

Timing is everything for the heritage brand and, at retail level, its global boutique network is displaying poster-sized versions of its print ads for the 1948 and 2012 editions of the Olympics in London.

“The posters are a striking way to remind people that we were on hand 64 years ago as official timekeeper when the Olympics were last held in London,” says Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega.

Other initiatives that tap into this powerful legacy are a short-term boutique located in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 during the games, a space that is emphatically Olympic-themed.

“There are Olympics-related exhibitions in some of our boutiques, notably at the Westfield Stratford store near Olympic Park,” explains Urquhart. “We’ve also introduced some holographic displays in some boutiques and these have been attracting a lot of attention.”

Case study

Hornby Hobbies – official product, London 2012

In-store traffic


To promote product and maximise its partnership with the Olympics, Hornby Hobbies has undertaken an extensive marketing campaign since the original proposal was agreed after the Beijing games. A product range that includes a Scalextric velodrome, mascot keyrings and ‘Destination London 2012’ die-cast taxis for every Olympic and Paralympic sport has been the driving force behind the marketing campaign, combined with the use of brand ambassador and British road cycling gold medal hopeful Lizzie Armitstead.

Hornby, owner of significant British heritage toy brands including Hornby, Corgi, Airfix and Scalextric, signed the rights for official licensed products in 2009, however Hornby’s deal with London 2012 only allows limited brand activation presence.

“The thing you don’t appreciate when you’re going through the process is that you don’t get rights by association, so you get no marketing rights whatsoever in relation to your brand,” says Alex Balzaretti, Hornby Hobbies London 2012 project director. “Normally, if you want to make a Hornby product such as a Harry Potter train you put a Hornby Harry Potter train on the front of the box, but such things are not allowed with London 2012.”

Because Hornby does not have rights by association it has spent a lot of time maximising its distribution opportunities. Crucial to overcoming the restrictions is clever use of its in-store presence and well-designed P-O-P.

“One of the reasons we signed this deal was that in the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, Boris Johnson took a big red London bus as a symbol of Britain to the handover ceremony,” comments Balzaretti. “Corgi has been making London buses for decades and it’s a key part of our range, so it makes sense to incorporate it into our marketing presence in-store.”

Bringing iconic products such as London buses and taxis to life has driven Hornby’s campaign this summer. One way of achieving this is by supersizing them, creating a range of 3 to 4 inch-long sporting taxis, each representing an Olympic sport.

The brand is revving up its marketing engine with large-scale point of sale displays too. Hornby has opened a London 2012 pop-up store at retail partner Harrods’ Knightsbridge department store. In the centre of a specially designed concession store is a free-standing display in the shape of a red London bus.

As a product producer, the retail sphere has been a big focus for Hornby, and it is working alongside national retailers such as Hamleys, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s to create pop-up shops and in-store displays that promote the range to the stores’ consumers.

Banking on Olympic success

Lloyds TSB – tier two London 2012 Olympic partner

Gordon Lott, TSB
Gordon Lott, TSB

Gordon Lott, head of London 2012 partnership and group sponsorship

Marketing Week (MW): How does the partnership with the Olympics allow you to build deeper relationships with your audience?

Gordon Lott (GL): The core reason for the partnership is Lloyds TSB’s recently adopted brand promise ‘For The Journey’, an assurance to help customers on their journey, wherever they are heading. The Olympics provides a unique opportunity to bring that brand promise to life. Whether it’s the journey of the athletes, the spectators, our customers or businesses, it’s a platform that allows us to talk to all of those audiences.

MW: What are you specifically doing at retail?

GL: With 2,000 branches on the high street, retail has always been at the heart of the campaign and we are unusual in being able to help LOCOG take the Olympics to communities across the UK. Our campaign called ‘Local Heroes’ sees all the branches with posters up of emerging athlete local heroes on their community walls. We’ve also brought the partnership to life at branch level by putting the London 2012 logo on our fascia at every site. Each one has a 2012 stand inside which, apart from giving information about Team GB, includes our own guide to the Games.

MW: How are you using in-store marketing at the point of sale?

GL: No bank in the UK has delivered an Olympic sponsorship before. The P-O-P stand is in all our branches. In the bigger branches it’s tall and imposing and in the smaller ones it’s more compact and can sit on a side shelf as you walk in. There are 350 branches on the route of the torch relay and every branch was given a branch celebration kit. This included bunting, green balloons and green ribbons. At each opportunity along the torch relay we created a British environment with a street party outside the bank. This is what I call an opportunity to create a ‘moment of truth’ outside the banking relationship in the branch.


MW: How else have you been innovative?

GL: We haven’t previously used our branches as a medium to drive people to Facebook. However, this year we’ve integrated the in-store campaign with social media activity. Social media is an integral part of our campaign, with competitions for the chance to win tickets and be at celebration parties. We’re promoting that heavily through our branches with our poster campaign in-store. It’s a nice way of embedding London 2012 within the end-to-end customer experience.

MW: How will people carry this with them beyond the 2012 activation?

GL: Right from the outset, our mission has been to bring the Games closer to consumers and create opportunities for customers to take part, benefit and get involved in London 2012. Hopefully, customers will take from it the knowledge they had a chance to get involved through Lloyds TSB.



Retailers are vital to Olympics excitement

Rosie Baker

It’s finally here. After months and years of preparation, tomorrow (27 July) is the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games. But while the Games might be in London, retailers have played a massive role in bringing the Games to life elsewhere.


Dr Dre Beats Olympic brand police

Seb Joseph

Headphone range Beats by Dr Dre has outsmarted Olympic chiefs and succeeded with an ambush marketing stunt at the London 2012 Games by getting Team GB athletes to endorse the brand.

McDonalds's Olympic restaurant

McDonald’s adds QR codes for Olympics

Rosie Baker

McDonald’s is to put QR codes on all food packaging sold at its Olympics Park venue during the Games to give customers access to nutritional information about its products, one of a number of innovations unveiled today (26 July) on the eve of the start of the Olympics.