SBD/May 17, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Shawn Johnson Among Eight Athletes In Coca-Cola Marketing Promoting London Games

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Shawn Johnson also endorsed Coca-Cola during the lead up to the Beijing Games
Coca-Cola has signed eight athletes to be the face of its Olympic marketing around the ‘12 London Games. The signings represent an expansion of Coca-Cola's traditional "six pack" marketing program and include a number of firsts for the company, which signed its first diver and first female boxer. Gold Medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson will again be part of the promotion after being one of the six athletes used in the lead up to the '08 Beijing Games. The "eight pack" for '12 also includes diver David Boudia, wrestler Henry Cejudo, boxer Marlen Esparza, tennis player John Isner, paralympic swimmer Jessica Long, women’s soccer player Alex Morgan and hurdler David Oliver. The athletes will be featured at POS and in advertising that is developed around the London Games. Coca-Cola Dir of Olympic Marketing Dina Gerson said, "There was an opportunity here to go with a statement and not go with the tried and true. We felt it was a great time to diversify our portfolio and give new depth and breadth to different sports than we may have partnered with in the past." The company expanded its portfolio of athletes by two because of retail customers’ desire to showcase more athletes in stores and because it has begun selling an 8-pack of mini-Coca-Cola cans, Gerson said. She added, "We wanted to provide the diversity to align our different retail customers with athletes and sports that made sense for their business."

GOING BACK TO THE WELL: This is the third consecutive Olympics Coca-Cola has selected a group of athletes to represent it in promotions and at POS. In making the selections, the company looked for athletes with medal potential; diversity in sport, ethnicity and gender; appeal to teens and moms alike; and compelling stories. Coca-Cola's ‘08 athletes included Johnson, sprinter Sanya Richards, swimmer Natalie Coughlin, taekwondo athlete Stephen Lopez, triathlete Andy Potts and basketball player LeBron James. Gerson said James will be used in marketing and promotion around one of Coca-Cola's other brands leading to the London Games.
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