SBD/July 16, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Non-Olympic Sponsors Buying Up Majority Of Available Space Within Venue Zones

Non-Olympic sponsors have "bought the majority of advertising space within venue zones in a last-minute marketing ‘victory’ that gives them more visibility than sponsors who have paid millions to be associated with the games," according to Vanessa Kortekaas of the FINANCIAL TIMES. CBS Outdoor, the outdoor advertising partner for the London Games, said that billboards, posters and digital sites "around Olympic venues had sold out in the past few weeks, and that more than half of the ads would feature non-sponsors." Advertising "within a few hundred metres of Olympic venues was originally reserved for sponsors." However, amid slow sales, LOCOG "agreed to let CBS Outdoor offer space to companies from the music, film and theatre sectors, among others -- deemed non-competitors to games’ sponsors." CBS Outdoor U.K. Dir Jason Cotterrell said the non-sponsors would get “very close” to the Olympic audience. When asked how much of the vicinity space was initially taken up by sponsors, Cotterrell said, “Frankly not a lot.” He said that sponsors “had not shunned the traditional ad space, but rather chose ‘large impact’ campaigns, such as wrapping a red double-decker bus or a whole tube station in a poster” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/16).

COVER IT UP: CNBC’s Ross Westgate noted with the start of the Olympics less than two weeks away, we are "now going into the blackout period where individual athletes will no longer be able to show their own sponsors off.” Westgate said to U.S. track and field athlete Nick Symmonds, “You’re known because you’ve got this tattoo on (your arm) which you sold for about $11,000.” Symmonds noted it is a temporary tattoo of Hanson Dodge and said, "Domestically, I’m allowed to display it but internationally ... I have to tape over it. So in competition you’ll see me with a piece of tape on my left deltoid, but everybody knows Hanson Dodge Creative is the sponsor.” Westgate asked if this was “going to be the future” for athlete marketing. Symmonds said, “I sure hope so. We train for four years for these events and we come here and all these sponsors have helped us throughout the years. ... When we get to the Olympics, where we can give them a return on their investment, they’re suddenly not welcome anymore. I just think it’s terrible” ("Worldwide Exchange," CNBC, 7/16).
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