SBD/August 1, 2012/Olympics

Olympic Marketing Notes: Several Non-Olympic Sponsors Cut Marketing Spend

MARKETING magazine’s Gemma Charles noted, “Several brands with direct competitors as official sponsors of the Olympics have cut their marketing spend by millions of pounds in the run up” to the London Games. Ebiquity research found that Unilever, Nestlé and MasterCard are “among those to have opted not to try to oppose their rivals and Olympic sponsors Procter & Gamble, Cadbury and Visa in the marketing stakes, and are, in effect, sitting out the Games.” Over the 12 weeks to July 15, compared with the same period in ‘11, an analysis of the ad spend of brands “competing with sponsor rivals revealed it is down overall by 6%.” The figures “refer to TV and print advertising spend” (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 7/31).

DROP A BEAT: The GUARDIAN’s Mark Sweney reports rapper Dr. Dre has “succeeded in gatecrashing the London 2012 Olympics, with an ambush marketing campaign that has seen Team GB athletes including Laura Robson and Tom Daley endorse the music entrepreneur's Beats headphones range.” The headphone brand, which is not an official IOC or LOCOG sponsor, has “skirted strict rules on ambush marketing by sending Team GB members special versions of the Beats range branded with union flag colours.” British men’s soccer G Jack Butland tweeted, "Love my GB Beats by Dre." Butland also revealed that a Beats rep “visited the team hotel on Monday.” The stunt is “unlikely to go down well” with IOC and LOCOG lawyers. The official sponsor that is “most likely to feel most aggrieved by the stunt is Panasonic” (GUARDIAN, 8/1).

LOUD CLOTHING: The AP noted U.S. men’s beach volleyball players Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser “took to the sand for the first time on Sunday night wearing a funky red, white and blue boardshort designed by Loudmouth, the same company that made the much-discussed pants the Norwegian curlers wore” during the ’10 Vancouver Games. Rogers and Dalhausser “narrowed it down from eight choices to three they'll wear in London.” Rogers said, "I don't think anyone's ever worn anything like this at the Summer Games. It's different. It's fun. Beach volleyball is a fun game, so I think they go hand in hand" (AP, 7/29). Rogers and Dalhausser appeared on NBC's "Today" this morning and played a game against the show's anchors, who were wearing Loudmouth gear ("Today," NBC, 8/1).

FAIR TRADING: In London, Dominic Walsh reports InterContinental Hotels Group, the official hotel supplier to the Olympic Games, has been “accused of engaging in uncompetitive behaviour by seeking to prevent online travel agents from discounting its rooms.” The Office of Fair Trading, which “began a formal investigation into the issue in September 2010, alleges that InterContinental Hotels Group has broken competition law by fixing the price of rooms sold over the internet through Expedia and Booking.com” (LONDON TIMES, 8/1).
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