SBD/Issue 165/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Olympic Sponsors Curb Spending, Jockey For Position In China

Bank Of China Reaches Consumers As
Official Vendor Of Olympics Tickets
Many of the largest multi-national sponsors of the Beijing Games "substantially curbed spending on traditional TV, newspaper and magazine ads in China" during Q1, according to Nielsen research cited by Geoffrey Fowler of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Nielsen Media Research Asia-Pacific Managing Dir Richard Basil-Jones: "Despite the focus Olympic sponsors place on this significant event, they don't have limitless marketing budgets, and must carefully plan the best way to spread their ad spend." Publicis Groupe media buying agency ZenithOptimedia estimated that advertisers worldwide will "spend $3[B] extra on the Olympics this year, of which $900[M] will be spent in China." Chinese corporate Olympics sponsors with smaller budgets are "playing catch-up with the multinationals," and many of them "decided the Chinese New Year period would be a good time to kick their sponsorship campaigns into high gear." The Bank of China today will launch its TV, print and outdoor Olympics campaign with a "series of ads featuring China's national badminton team," via Havas SA's Euro RSCG China and Havas Sports China. Additionally, some sponsors are "showing signs of very targeted approaches in their advertising." GE has focused its ads in airports to "reach business travelers," and Bank of China is "making its target audience come to it, with the bank's branches serving as the official vendor for Games tickets."

adidas Launches Olympic Campaign Early To
Avoid Advertising Clutter Surrounding Games
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Fowler notes an option for competitors of Olympics sponsors is to "do little or no advertising during the Games, and instead come on strong right after the Games are over." WPP Group's Group M ESP Asia CEO Mike Rich: "We have a number of clients who are taking the view that relative to the clutter and cost of communicating during that time, it is better to go relatively dark." Fowler notes adidas did not want to launch during the int'l torch relay and "didn't want to compete with the general flurry of advertising that accompanies the Chinese New Year period" in February. The company "chose to begin its heavy advertising push in late November and December of last year, when it figured its competitors might be quiet." Aegis Group's Carat China Communications Planning Dir Seth Grossman, whose company works with adidas, said adidas in December "had about a 90% share of voice," which Fowler notes is the "share of spending on advertising among competitors" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/16).

HUMAN RIGHTS EFFECT ON SPONSORS: Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research President Michael Maslansky appeared on CNBC Thursday to discuss whether China's human rights record is hurting Olympic sponsors. Maslansky said the majority of fans are "not going to pay attention" to the issue during the event. Maslansky: "They’ll watch the Games, they’ll be excited by the Games, but they’re not going to pay attention to the politics." He said the larger issue for sponsors is that they "haven’t done a great job of creating a positive message. The protesters have really owned the debate about the Olympics. They’re making it about Darfur, they’re making it about Tibet." Maslansky: "If they what to make this a productive sponsorship for them ... I think they have to change the way that they talk about the Olympics and really get out in front of this in a way that they haven’t done so far” (CNBC, 5/15).

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