SBD/Issue 198/Olympics

Adidas Focuses Ad Budget on China, Looks To Gain Market Share

Watch adidas' Spot Featuring Diver Hu Jia
adidas is “focusing nearly all of its Olympics TV ad budget on China and likely won’t be airing the spots in top Adidas markets like the U.S. and Europe,” according to Stephanie Kang of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The ad campaign, which will feature TV, outdoor, retail, mobile and online marketing, is one of the company’s “biggest ever in a single country.” The campaign will feature Chinese athletes such as diver Hu Jia and basketball player Sui Feifei and has as its “driving theme Chinese pride in hosting and winning the Games.” In one computer-animated ad, Chinese fans “help Chinese athletes, either in blocking a volleyball shot, flicking a pass to a basketball player or helping launch a diver into the air.” In another spot, the Chinese women’s volleyball team “talks about overcoming heavy expectations from its countrymen to win a medal" in the '04 Athens Games. Later this month, adidas will launch the final TV spot, which features the adidas-made outfits that will be worn by the Chinese-delegation on the medal stand. adidas is “promoting Chinese nationalism at a time when other Olympics marketers are steering clear of specifically mentioning China.” However, the “larger mission of the ad campaign is to help Adidas in its battle with Nike for the Chinese consumer market.” adidas execs said that the company “will surpass Nike in market share by the end of the year” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/3). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Mei Fong writes adidas Friday in Beijing will open its “biggest store in the world.” The store “serves to promote Adidas’ role as the official sportswear provider for the Beijing Games.” adidas execs said that business in China “is booming,” and Fong notes the country is “already Adidas’s most profitable market.” adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer has said that the company’s Chinese sales will surpass $1.58B by 2010, but adidas Asia Head Christophe Bezu said the company is “likely to do that much earlier.” Nike “hit $1[B] in Chinese sales in fiscal 2008, a year ahead of schedule” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/3).

CLUB BUD: In St. Louis, Jeremiah McWilliams writes Anheuser-Busch’s Club Bud, which was first introduced at the ’06 Turin Olympics, will be “one of the biggest nightclubs in Beijing.” The club, a “sprawling party pad with a pool, dance floor and lounges decorated with bamboo and terra cotta soldiers,” is “designed to be a hub of Olympic extravaganza and a rocking symbol of the ambitions of its builder.” Club Bud will be located at Beijing’s National Agricultural Exhibition Hall for the Games and is “supposed to be a venue for invitation-only parties, the go-to destination for celebrities and athletes and a backdrop for international news broadcasts.” Meanwhile, A-B “envisions an integrated Olympic marketing effort in China, with billboards, concerts and Budweiser-themed party areas in various cities.” Seven 30-second spots “featuring the Budweiser ants in various sports -- rowing, diving, windsurfing -- will hit the airwaves” in China. A-B also has “rolled out beer cans bathed in the colors of gold, silver and bronze and sporting a twisting, dancing dragon -- symbolizing China emerging onto the international sports arena” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/3).

MCDONALD'S: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare reviews IOC TOP sponsor McDonald’s two new global Olympic TV commercials from two of its ad agencies, Leo Burnett, Chicago, and DDB, Chicago, giving the spots a grade of “A-.” The DDB ad titled “The More We Get Together” is “perhaps the more emotionally resonant of the two spots.” The song’s “inherent innocence provides an interesting and appropriate counterpoint to the many images of heated competition seen in the commercial.” But the Burnett spot titled, “Let the Games Begin,” is the “more stunning spectacle.”  Set amid the “architectural splendors of ancient China … we are thrust into the middle of an incredible display of youthful martial arts as the battle for the McNugget takes the kids on a furiously acrobatic tour around a variety of colorful Chinese settings” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/3).

Lenovo: PBS’ Shannon Van Zant said for IOC TOP sponsor Lenovo, the Beijing Olympics "promise a huge opportunity to build brand recognition, but so far the 2008 Games have also brought political protests and calls for boycotts of Western and Chinese corporations.”  Lenovo VP/Olympic Marketing Alice Li: “When we evaluate the return and the value of this sponsorship, we need to take a very long-term view and (look at the) bigger picture.” Van Zant said for Lenovo, “that picture includes building brand recognition overseas.” Van Sant: “Lenovo’s marketing strategy includes providing 30,000 computers, servers and printers for the Games.” Van Sant noted that the Beijing Games may be “a coming out for Chinese companies looking to boost brand awareness in Western markets.” Van Sant: “For sponsors like Lenovo, the Summer Games offer a unique opportunity to seize global market share, so long as consumers associate their band with the Olympics and not political controversy” (“Nightly Business Report,” PBS, 7/2).

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