SBD/Issue 117/Olympics

VANOC Sees Larger Than Expected Windfall From Mitten Sales Share

VANOC Could Earn At Least C$12M From
Sales Of Hudson's Bay Olympic Red Mittens

VANOC receives C$4 from the sale of each pair of Hudson's Bay Company's Olympic red mittens, and while the group "promised to give the proceeds from the first million pairs to Own the Podium," VANOC "has reaped much more" -- at least C$12M, according to Robert Matas of the GLOBE & MAIL. Own the Podium will receive its C$4M and VANOC indicated Saturday it will "keep the remainder and use the funds to pay for other athletic programs such as those from the Paralympic Games, rather than for training programs held after the 2010 Olympics." Ski Jumping Canada Chair Brent Morrice said that he "would like to see VANOC give the windfall money from the mitten sale to Own the Podium." Own the Podium Dir of Planning & Operations Claire Buffone-Blair said that the program is "grateful for the support it has received from the red mitten campaign," and that she was "not aware of talks on how the surplus would be distributed" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/28).

RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL SHIPS: The GLOBE & MAIL's Houpt & Willis wrote "everyone who is even marginally associated with the Vancouver Olympics seems like a winner," but it will take "months or possibly years for companies to determine the dividends earned from their multi-million dollar investments." Marketing experts cautioned that there "may be a few precedents to predict the long-lasting effects of the advertising campaigns associated with these Games, since no previous Olympics in Canada has been given a full-body embrace by Canadians." Still, "markers of success and failure are already beginning to appear." Houpt & Willis listed Hudson's Bay, Royal Bank of Canada, Coca-Cola and McDonald's as the "medal winners" for their marketing efforts during the Games, and "no sponsor did more to spruce up its brand" than Hudson's Bay. Meanwhile, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Panasonic, Petro-Canada and General Motors are sponsors who "missed the podium" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/27).

INT'L EXPOSURE: In Vancouver, Bruce Constantineau noted international businesses "pulled out all the Olympic stops in Vancouver and Whistler during the past two weeks." Switzerland President Doris Leuthard said that her country spent around C$10M "operating Swiss House pavilions in Vancouver and Whistler," and she indicated that the country "never considered scaling back their Olympic presence because of the recession." Leuthard: "Switzerland is the fifth biggest investor in Canada, so we have a strong economic reason to be present here." Meanwhile, Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium President Giuseppe Alai said that the organization's Olympic sponsorship gave it "tremendous exposure in Vancouver, allowing it to meet importers and journalists from all over the world." The consortium paid about C$2.1M for a three-year deal with the Italian National Olympic Committee. Birks & Mayors Inc. President Thomas Andruskevich, whose company served as the official jewelry supplier, said that the company "has used the Games to help make Birks a more global brand." Birks & Mayors has provided "more than 42,000 gifts, in distinct Birks blue boxes, to athletes, coaches, volunteers and dignitaries -- with all athletes receiving silver pendants." Andruskevich: "They'll have a blue box and a gift from Birks and the benefits that will pay long term are almost immeasurable" (VANCOUVER SUN, 2/27).

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