SBD/February 10, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Vancouver Olympians' Marketing Appeal Remains Strong One Year After The Games

U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn is “one of a handful of U.S. Olympians from last year's Vancouver Games bucking” the notion that Olympic athletes “enjoy a brief moment in the spotlight before returning to toil in anonymity until the next Games,” according to a sports section cover story by Vicki Michaelis of USA TODAY. Baker Street Advertising Exec VP & Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman said, "It's definitely more than usual, and it's pretty surprising given that we're talking about Winter Olympians." Octagon Managing Dir of Olympics & Action Sports Peter Carlisle, who reps speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno, said, "I've seen more opportunity of a different variety. It's more sustainable. But it's case-by-case and seems to be dependent upon these athletes that transcend the (Olympic) space." In a Nielsen/E-Poll rating of the "most effective endorsers" in ‘10, Vonn “ranked second to Venus Williams among active female athletes.” Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White, whose “skateboarding and snowboarding exploits in the Summer and Winter X Games help him stay relevant in non-Olympic years,” is No. 1 “for active male athletes,” ahead of Celtics C Shaquille O'Neal. Michaelis notes for some ‘10 Olympians, the “momentum doesn't appear to be ebbing,” as White and Ohno “have new deals with BFGoodrich and Subway, respectively.” U.S. figure skater Evan Lysacek competed on ABC's “Dancing With The Stars” after the Olympics, and he and U.S. bobsledder Steve Holcomb “posed nude” in ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue." Meanwhile, Vonn “scored a guest role” on NBC's “Law & Order” and appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's movie issue “as Sharon Stone's sultry character” from “Basic Instinct.” Olympians also “have been able to continue to cultivate their accessibility to fans” through social media sites. Ohno and Vonn “post frequent news flashes and personal insights on Twitter.” The “broader implication: Olympic athletes no longer have to depend solely on mainstream media coverage to create the buzz that sponsors want” (USA TODAY, 2/10).
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