SBD/May 4, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Olympic Marketing Notes: Ryan Lochte Adds Nissan To Growing Sponsor Portfolio

Will Lochte be the face of the U.S. team at London Games?
In Daytona Beach, Brent Woronoff notes in the next three months leading up to the London Games, U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte “will also be all over your television.” Lochte's latest sponsor, Nissan, this past week “went to Gainesville, where he lives and trains, for a photo shoot.” Ryan’s father Steve Lochte said that on Tuesday, Ryan “is scheduled to appear with other Olympic athletes” on NBC’s "Today" in N.Y. In addition to Nissan, Steve Lochte said, "We have had a lot of other endorsements between Gillette, Gatorade, Mutual of Omaha and Nissan, and we have a few more on the table” (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 5/4).

STAYING ON THE DEFENSIVE: In Detroit, Karl Henkel noted IOC TOP sponsor Dow Chemical “has mounted an aggressive defense" against critics protesting its involvement in the Olympics, noting that it "had nothing to do” with the '84 Bhopal gas leak. PR experts “question whether Dow's strategy is helping to quiet the uproar, but the company and chemical industry say the negative publicity lets them clarify the issues and discuss the positive contributions of the chemical industry.” Michigan State Univ. College of Business Marketing Dept. Chair Roger Calantone said that the “longer the controversy drags on, the more difficulty Dow will have in reducing the bad publicity.” But Dow in an e-mail countered that “the added scrutiny has benefits” (DETROIT NEWS, 5/3).

ARCH MADNESS: CNBC’s Sue Herera reported IOC TOP sponsor McDonald’s is “under fire for building an Olympic-sized restaurant for the London Olympics.” The two-story, "cathedral-like restaurant ... will seat up to 1,500 people.” CNBC.com News Editor Cindy Perman: “It doesn’t feel right in the sense that we are very critical, particularly with the collective weight gain in many parts of the developed world. But look, at the end of the day if you’re McDonald’s, you can’t miss this.” She added, "As a company, they’re doing the exact right thing by being where they need to be.” CNBC’s Bob Pisani noted McDonald’s has been an Olympic sponsor since ’76 and the menu features “fruit plates and salads.” He added, “I hope it’s going to be there in the Olympic Village" ("Power Lunch,” CNBC, 5/3).

FEAR FACTOR
: In London, Declan McGarvey notes U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague has “called a television commercial that was secretly filmed on the Falkland Islands by Argentina a ‘stunt.’” The clip shows Argentine field hockey player Fernando Zylberberg and carries the slogan: “To compete on British soil, we train on Argentine soil.” The ad “aired on the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Argentine destroyer the 'General Belgrano'” during the Falklands War. McGarvey notes the ad “will spark fears of Falklands-themed protests by the Argentine delegation during the Games” (LONDON TIMES, 5/4).
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