SBD/May 10, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

P&G's Febreze Brand Takes Unique Approach With Olympic Sponsorships

P&G's Febreze brand is making its Olympic sponsorship debut with a new ad campaign featuring the "wrestling team from Azerbaijan," according to Andrew Adam Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. The campaign includes a new TV commercial that "shows four unitard-clad members of the team ... wrestling and lifting weights in a shabby London gym." A voice-over in the spot says, "We did a Febreze experiment with the Azerbaijani wrestling team. Can Febreze Air Effects defeat the smelly air in their gym for good?" When the subjects in the ad "are told to remove their blindfolds, they are shocked and amused." The commercial was produced by Grey Group, N.Y. and "will begin showing internationally on July 1." Online-only videos featuring the wrestlers "began appearing on the brand's Facebook page" yesterday. Grey Global Exec Creative Dir Per Pedersen said that after "settling on the idea of featuring athletes in the blindfold-experiment videos, the agency considered which athletes were most rank." Pedersen: "It was between weight lifting and wrestling, but weight lifting is just a short explosion of activity." Pedersen said that although the wrestlers represent a rival country, "they will resonate with American consumers." He said, "We don’t expect you to cheer for the Azerbaijani team -- it’s not that kind of sponsorship. These guys are brought in because they represent a sport that has the biggest odor challenge of the Olympics" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/10).

HITCHING THEIR WAGON TO A STAR? MARKETING magazine's Gemma Charles noted several brands who are not sponsors of the London Games are "stepping up efforts to run sports-themed ad campaigns ahead of the forthcoming Olympics marketing blackout period." Subway and FedEx, "whose competitors McDonald’s and UPS are official Games sponsors, unveiled multimillion-pound campaigns" in the U.K. Subway's campaign, which launched yesterday across TV, outdoor, digital and social media, features Great Britian pole-vaulter Holly Bleasdale and boxer Anthony Ogogo. FedEx later this month "plans to run a heavyweight press campaign and unveil a digital platform, as part of a partnership with SportsAid." Subway Dir of Marketing Manaaz Akhtar "denied that the athletes activity was ambush marketing." He said that it was "a long-term programme and not timed around the Olympics" (, 5/9).
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