SBD/January 6, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Olympic Sponsor P&G Expecting More Modest Return From Sochi As New Campaign Debuts

Pritchard expressed confidence the IOC will prevent discrimination at the Games
Procter & Gamble today launched its main ad campaign for the Sochi Games, "seeking a more modest return than from" the '12 London Games, according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The company estimated that the London Games gave it a $500M sales boost, but is "targeting around a third of that figure" for the Sochi Games. The focus of the P&G campaign, featuring "clips of sports such as skating and skiing to be shown in TV commercials and online, will be on countries where winter sports have large followings," including Russia, China, the U.S., Canada, Germany and Poland. The company is "again using" the "Thank You Mom" message. Meanwhile, P&G Global Marketing Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard said, "What we would expect out of the Games is that athletes should be able to compete regardless of their national origin, gender or sexual orientation. We're fully confident that the IOC will ensure that these Games come ... free of discrimination" (REUTERS, 1/6).

SPEAK YOUR MIND: In Chicago, Philip Hersh noted U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner has been "honest and unafraid to express herself on the issues at hand" following Russia's implementation of anti-gay laws. Sponsors "clearly have a similarly positive feeling about Wagner, no matter that she has yet to win a world or Olympic medal." Her sponsor list is "unusually long for a skater," and includes Cover Girl, Nike, P&G, Hilton HHonors, the Century Council, Highmark, Pandora and BP. Nearly all those sponsors had signed on before Wagner stepped onto ground that "seemed to unsettle nearly every contender" for the '14 U.S. figure skating team. Wagner in October "calmly decried the legislation on human rights grounds and stuck to that stance through several TV interviews that followed." She said, "Everyone sounded like a robot. I wasn't going to sit there and not speak my mind." Wagner added, "I have multiple gay family members and many gay friends, and I felt like it was an opportunity to be a voice for them." Wagner is "unsure what she might do in Sochi." She noted U.S. runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his world championship medal in Moscow last summer to gay and lesbian friends and said, "I would love to do something like that" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/5).

LICENSE TO DRIVE: In New Jersey, Richard Newman noted BMW recently helped build six bobsleds "that can reach speeds of more than 90 mph." BMW of North America VP/Marketing Trudy Hardy "declined to disclose how much the company is spending on its Olympics sponsorship, related advertising and donated design services." But she said that together they "will add up to be the company's largest U.S. marketing expense" for '14. The automaker has "three years left on a six-year sponsorship agreement" with the USOC. BMW in addition to financial support has "provided software that helps swimmers and long jumpers train, but the three-year project to replace an aging fleet of bobsleds is a first of its kind for the company." BMW "absorbed the cost of designing the new fleet." Meanwhile, the company between now and Feb. 28 is "donating $10 to the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics teams for every customer who takes a test drive" (Bergen RECORD, 1/4).
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