By Barry Janoff
February 13, 2014: The 2014 Winter Olympics have been pulling down strong numbers for NBC, with upward of 25 million people tuning in every night since the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7. These same viewers and consumers are now relating how Olympics marketing partners and sponsors can reach gold when it comes to ROI in and around Sochi.
With an expected audience of more than three billion viewers worldwide, "sponsor brands will benefit from the broad global audience as well as the integrity and authenticity of the Olympic Games brand" according to a new study from Arnold Worldwide.
The Boston-based communications and marketing firm said it evaluated the Olympic Games brand value "on a proprietary index of velocity that measures trust (in what the brand stands for) and dynamism (how the brand behaves)."
"Among sports organization, the Olympics has high velocity — more trusted than any other sports organization, with higher dynamism than all but the NFL," Neela Pal, global director of brand and business strategy for Arnold Worldwide, said in a statement. "Both the Olympics and other sports organizations are perceived as traditional and fun. However, the Olympics is also viewed as having integrity and being authentic. With advertising spend during the games expected to reach record levels, that's an important advantage for brands among this rare broad audience."
International Olympic Committee TOP Partners are Atos, Coca-Cola, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
Top partners with the U.S. Olympic Committee include 24 Hour Fitness, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), AT&T, BMW of America, BP, Chobani, Citi, The Hartford, Hilton, Kellogg's, Liberty Mutual, Nike, Ameritrade and United Airlines.
According to Arnold, Olympic-sponsoring brands "achieve trust through high-quality, consistency and reliability; and dynamism by speaking to broader personal and social values such as providing life balance, valuing sustainability, honesty, helping consumers feel good about themselves, and enabling self improvement."
The firm's research shows that the top three benefits that sponsorship bestows on a brand are awareness, global impression and leadership.
The report highlighted three key consumer needs by which Olympic-sponsoring brands "can drive greater velocity by infusing attributes associated with other sports-sponsoring brands around innovation":
• Immediacy: The majority of Olympics followers (83%) want to experience the Olympics live.
• Connectivity: While a TV presence will be critical for Olympic-sponsoring brands, digital and mobile presences are equally important with 74% of Olympics followers using multiple devices simultaneously to consume Olympics content.
"Among sports organization, the Olympics has high velocity — more trusted than any other sports organization, with higher dynamism than all but the NFL."
• Engagement: Social sharing of Olympic Games content is on the rise with 41% of consumers more likely to share Olympic content during the Sochi Olympics than during the London Olympics.
A just-released study by research and consulting company YouGov, Palo Alto, Calif., indicated that some official Olympics partners are doing a better job that others in connecting with consumers and viewers.
According to YouGov, McDonald's came out on top among Americans with 32% identifying the brand as an official sponsor of the event. Coca-Cola (29%) and Visa (26%) also achieved a high degree of recognition as official games sponsors.
Among other IOC TOP partners, Atos was named by 1%, Dow Chemical by 2%, General Electric by 8%, Omega, Panasonic by 6%, Procter & Gamble by 10% and Samsung by 9%. Omega was not named by anyone who took the YouGov survey,
Most of the IOC's partners are signed through the 2020 Games. Panasonic has just extend through 2024.
Broadcast partner NBC is expected to pull in a Winter Games record $! billion in ad revenue — topping the $852.1 million during the 2006 WInter Games in Torino. The network has charged an average of close to $100,000 for a 30-second spot, according to industry analysts, although companies that purchase multiple spots generally get a discount.
The biggest chunk of ad sales is coming from the automotive category, again expected to set a new Winter Games record by topping the $130.8 million spent during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, according to marketing and research firm Kantar Media, New York. Kantar Media estimates that NBC will have as much as 5,500 minutes of commercial time on TV alone.
Among the statistics culled by the Arnold Worldwide:
• 64% of those surveyed who said they will/might follow the Olympics believe it's important to access Olympic content live, as it's happening. This is particularly true of 18-29 year olds, families and households with incomes over $70k
What content is most relevant?
* The sporting events themselves: 56%
• Sports highlights: 45%
• Opening Ceremony: 45%
How will you consume Olympic content
• TV: 82%
• Laptop or desktop computers: 75%
• Smartphone or tablet: 53%
Will you share content via social media?
• They will: 31%
• They might: 31%
• Via Facebook: 81%
• Via YouTube: 36%
• Via 34%
Arnold Worldwide, a division of Havas Creative, conducted an online survey of 400 U.S. respondents, aged 18+, between December 12-18, 2013. Among Arnold's clients are ADT, Carnival Cruise Lines, CVS, Hershey, Jack Daniel 's, Kohler, New Balance, Ocean Spray, Progressive, Tyson Foods and University of Phoenix.
As Games Approach, Are Brands Getting Gold Value From Olympic Alliances?
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