Tag Archives: adidas

Olympic crowds lift the athletes (and Nike treads softly)

6 Aug

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Live from London 2012: I’m blogging from the weightlifting arena in the ExCeL tonight.

I’ve been to many of the events held here in the past week, including judo and table tennis, but weightlifting has a particularly great atmosphere. If there’s any sporting discipline that depends on audience participation – it’s this. After all, 220kg won’t lift itself. It also doesn’t matter where these contestants are from as the crowd just wants to see the human body pushed to its limit.

In the tribune

It was my first shift in the tribune today overseeing the Greco-Roman wrestling, which saw 60kg, 84kg and 120kg contenders attempt to flip their opponent to progress to the next round. The arena was packed and the journalists arrived in their droves to cover the event. Although, Prospect Magazine warns that the alternative wrestling style – freestyle – is the least popular Olympic sport. But, even if the audience is small in numbers later this week it shouldn’t affect the atmosphere. Everyone seems happy to get involved and show their support so far.

Brands breaking out

But, let’s not dwell on sports losing out. Rather, let’s focus on sports brands that are winning – Nike

The most talked about sports brand online (with 33% more tweet mentions under event hash tags according to StarCom MediaVest Group via The Wall), ahead of official Olympic sponsor Adidas, has ensured it’s part of the sporting conversation by supplying athletes with plenty of footwear.

Not only have Adidas got the hump because organisers can’t ban athletes from wearing Nike (it’s deemed as a piece of ‘equipment’) but because lots of pairs have been spied on high-profile names. And, to push the boot in, Nike’s also released a range of trainers with department store Liberty.

With a pair made especially for Team GB 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton who’s yet to take to the track, Nike is making sure it has the upper hand (or foot) when it comes to brand presence and awareness with its Victory Zoom Elite range.

There’s a week of competition left but will Adidas respond? Yes – it sponsored the ‘greatest show on earth’ for long-term positive brand perception. But, with a global captive audience tuning in, there’s plenty of quick-wins that it can’t afford to miss.

Call the Doctor

On another note, have you noticed how most athletes listen to music before they take to the stage? Have you noticed how they all have similar ‘over the ear’ DJ headphones? That’s because brand Beats by Dre have distributed them as gifts to athletes in a side-step marketing move that avoids slapped wrists by LOCOG. This tactic should make sure that Olympic sponsor Panasonic, which manages the TVs and big screens at the venues but also manufacturers headphones, gets the message too – step up or lose out.

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Oddbins rebels against the Olympics

24 Jul

Just three days before the Olympics’ opening ceremony, wine merchant Oddbins has launched a rebellion campaign against the Games’ top tier sponsors.

The company, which has 35 stores throughout the country, is planning a counter-strike over the next three weeks – accompanied by campaign posters making consumers feel at home by wearing their ‘outlawed Olympics attire’. Essentially, all Nike wearing and Vauxhall driving, MasterCard holders will be welcomed in store with a 30 per cent off discount.

Oddbins’ managing director Ayo Akintola has fiercely stated that non sponsors, in the run up to the Games, have been treated like “beggars on the gilded streets of the Olympic movement”. However, he quite rightly mentions that he’s expecting some backlash from LOCOG as a result of the campaign, which last week published rules that no one may link to the London 2012 site in a “false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.”

In response to Akintola’s rant, time will tell whether small businesses and non-sponsors profit during the Olympic Games. But, with an influx of visitors preparing to descend upon London, there’s an opportunity for everyone to seize. But, the question is – would consumers rather engage with a brand that is for or against the very reason they’re here?

Yes – the Olympics is going to cause disruption and the Olympics’ heavy-handed brand police have made headlines for the wrong reasons lately. But, as organisers have said time and time again, sponsorship is what allows the Games to take place. Let’s hope we look back at the Games as a highlight of the decade and beyond. Brands that take this approach will be better off than those that look the other way.

Selection of Olympic sponsors

Worldwide Olympic Partners: Coca-ColaMcDonald’s, P&G, UPS, Samsung, Panasonic, Dow, Atos, Omega, Acer, GE and Visa

London 2012 Partners: Lloyds TSB, EDF, Adidas, BT, BA, BP and BMW

Non sponsors include: Barclays, Nike, E.on, Virgin, HSBC, Canon and Carlsberg

Serena lets the alligator out of the bag

9 Jul

Five-times Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams has instilled fear into LOCOG and its sponsors by doing the one thing at Wimbledon that it can’t control at the forthcoming Olympics Games – bringing non sponsored brands into the stadiums.

Serena ignored the All England Lawn Tennis Club rules throughout the two-week tournament – that clearly stated that players are forbidden from showing non-sponsor drink brands within the ground during the competition – by bringing a Gatorade bottle to her post-match press conference on Saturday night. Fortunately, TV producers were able to edit it out of the picture and the pesky drink wasn’t given any airtime. But, is this her problem? Not really. Does she care? Unlikely. If anything, she’s given the brand more attention by breaking the rules.

To you and I this not something to make a fuss about. And frankly, no one would have noticed if the press hadn’t started shouting about it. Yet, event organisers continue to offer sports sponsors exclusive brand presence which cannot be guaranteed.

Some brands that don’t enter into official event sponsorship packages have tried to get their exposure by going through the stadiums’ back doors and taking ownership of the athletes themselves. Sports personalities like Serena Williams (Gatorade), David Beckham (Adidas) and Jessica Ennis (Powerade) all have brands fighting over them, and with so many rules and regulations it’s becoming difficult for their teams to work out what props are suitable and when.

London 2012 organisers will need to do everything they can to keep sponsors happy. Especially after recent research by Marketing magazine shows that re-call rates for companies assoiciated with the Olympic Games are disappointingly low – some consumers even assume that non sponsors Nike, Virgin and energy suppier E.On are all involved. Of the people asked, it was worldwide Olympic partners Coca-Cola and McDonald’s that came out on top, with Lloyds, Visa and EDF completing the top five. However, the top two have been criticised in the press recently, detracting from their association success.

A few weeks ago I blogged that Olympic sponsorship guarantees brands talkability inside and outside the stadium, regardless of exclusivity or not. It shouldn’t matter if some slip through the net. It’s not the branding people will be watching the Games for, it’s the sport (naturally). Even with the organisers playing by the book, the players (like Serena) may disregard the rules because it’s not on their mind or their trainers – and nor should it be.

With 48 medals on team GB’s target list, they’ll need to focus on their performance, not petty branding regulations.

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