SBJ/20080623/Countdown to Beijing

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  • A pre-Games guide to USOC sponsor activity

    Before the start of every NFL season, sports magazines offer readers short summations of team strengths, weaknesses, key players and projected performance. The result is a quick, easy-to-read guide that can last throughout the season.

    What if you could do the same for sports business?

    Before this summer’s Beijing Olympics, SportsBusiness Journal hopes to provide just that by offering a list of domestic sponsor activities in this issue and international sponsor activities in the July 21 issue.

    This issue highlights information we’ve collected from U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor- and partner-level corporate backers as well as International Olympic Committee corporate partners who actively support the USOC. Our hope is that the result becomes a tear sheet, something you can revisit during the Games to get a sense of what each company is doing, who they are working with and how they are activating their partnership.

    — Tripp Mickle

    24 Hour Fitness
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2003
    Senior sponsorship executive: Tony Wells, chief marketing officer
    Collaborating agencies: Edelman (public relations); IMG; Suosdey Penn and Jason Headley (freelance advertising)
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Approximately 75 throughout the Games, which includes 21 Fitness Ambassadors who will staff the High Performance Training Center where U.S. athletes will train at Beijing Normal University
    Activation plans in U.S.: Integrated marketing campaign, which will include television and print advertising, online, in-club signage and event marketing
    Planned creative in U.S.: National cable television, regional television/print executions and in-club collateral will break in July and feature 24 Hour Fitness-endorsed athletes with the theme: “We are all athletes.”
    Select endorsed athletes: Jeremy Wariner (track), Alicia Sacramone (gymnastics), Brian Olson (judo)
    Allstate Insurance Co.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2001
    Senior sponsorship executive: Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing
    Collaborating agencies: IMG; Leo Burnett; Starcom; Taylor; Octagon
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: Allstate does the greatest amount of activation around the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate, which will be broadcast on NBC on Aug. 3. It also uses the Allstate/Olympics sponsorship rings in employee and agent communications.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Allstate has provided its agency sales force with Olympic-themed consumer direct-mail materials and has been using the Allstate/Olympic composite logo on various Allstate national and local print ads. There also is dedicated Olympic-themed Asian ads running in Asian newspapers.
    Select endorsed athletes: None
    Anheuser-Busch Cos.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1984
    Senior sponsorship executive: Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing
    Collaborating agency: Cannonball (St. Louis)
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: Budweiser is taking the Olympic Games to the masses through retail point-of-sale materials featuring Olympic athletes as well as hosting Olympic Games viewing parties in select markets nationwide.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Budweiser is the exclusive alcohol beverage advertiser on NBC with 248 30-second units throughout the Games, and also will play a major role on with advertising and rich media/streaming video, including “Great American Olympic Moments presented by The Great American Lager.”
    Select endorsed athletes: Amanda Beard (swimming), Brianna Glenn (track and field), Ian Crocker (swimming)
    Sponsor start date with USOC: November 2005 (AT&T previously partnered with the USOC from 1984 to 2004, but the current deal was done following the company’s acquisition by SBC Communications and subsequent rebranding.)
    Senior sponsorship executive: Cathy Coughlin, global marketing officer
    Collaborating agencies: The Marketing Arm (lead Olympic agency); BBDO; MediaEdge Corp.; GSD&M
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: 15 staff, 80 consumer sweepstakes winners and employees, 120 business customers.
    Planned creative in U.S.: AT&T will have Olympic-themed broadcast TV, online, print, radio, direct mail and in-store creative in the marketplace between now and the conclusion of the Games. Various creative elements feature members of AT&T’s family of sponsored Team USA athletes and some will promote AT&T’s consumer activation programs as well as exclusive Olympic content offers. AT&T also will be in market with Spanish-language mass media featuring tae kwon do competitors in the Lopez family.
    Activation plans in U.S.: Programs such as AT&T’s “Tips and Training” and USA Gymnastics’ “Behind The Team” are accessible on AT&T U-verseSM TV and the AT&T blue room; AT&T’s “How Are You Connected” to Team USA sweepstakes awarded eight consumers a trip for two to the Beijing Games; Richard Childress Racing’s No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet, driven by NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Burton, will feature an Olympic paint scheme.
    Select endorsed athletes: Michael Phelps (swimming), the Lopez family (tae kwon do), Sanya Richards (track)
    AT&T and Hilton Hotels have both
    put their support behind the fighting
    Lopez family.
    Bank of America’s “America’s Cheer” program has been a successful
    grassroots effort.
    Bank of America
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1992
    Senior sponsorship executives: Ray Bednar, senior vice president, global sponsorship marketing; Craig Auerbach, Olympic platform executive
    Collaborating agencies: BBDO-New York; SportsMark; Organic; GMR; Starcom; Ketchum Sports Network
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: 50 (company and agency)
    Activation plans in U.S.: Bank of America’s leveraging plans for the 2008 Olympic Games are primarily focused on three programs: America’s Cheer, U.S. Olympic Team Banking and the Bank of America Hometown Hopefuls Family Center. America’s Cheer is a new grassroots campaign that provides an opportunity for all Americans to cheer on Team USA by uploading video or audio recordings online, writing a letter or sharing a photo. U.S. Olympic Team Banking includes check cards, checks and credit cards that enable customers to support America’s athletes with every purchase. The Hometown Hopefuls Family Center will provide hospitality for friends, families and more than 600 U.S. Olympians in Beijing.
    Planned creative in U.S.: U.S. Olympic Team-themed TV, radio, print, online and point-of-sale advertising, as well as a mobile Olympic experience that will travel across the country from mid-June through August.
    Select endorsed athletes: Jennie Finch (softball), Brett Heyl (kayak), Aaron Peirsol (swimming)
    The Coca-Cola Co.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: Coca-Cola has been an Olympic sponsor since 1928.
    Senior sponsorship executives for Coca-Cola North America: Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer; Coca-Cola North America; Bea Perez, senior vice president, integrated marketing, Coca-Cola North America
    Collaborating agencies: IMG; Momentum; StudioCom; Juxt; Starcom Mediavest Group; Wieden & Kennedy; Leo Burnett
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: In-store promotions featuring Coca-Cola athletes will point customers to collectible packaging featuring a Coca-Cola “Six Pack” of athletes.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Vignettes featuring Coca-Cola’s “Six Pack” of athletes will appear on NBC to raise awareness for the collectible packaging. Those will appear along with a commercial celebrating Coke’s 80-year relationship with the Olympics. will give visitors the chance to design their own digital Coke bottle and learn more about Coke athletes.
    Select endorsed athletes: LeBron James (basketball), Andy Potts (triathlon), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics)
    Sponsor start date with USOC: January 2005
    Senior sponsorship executive: Peter Foss, president of Olympic sponsorship
    Collaborating agencies: Edelman; IMG; BBDO; Syrup; Frog
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: Continuing from programs begun for the Torino 2006 Olympics, GE Healthcare is continuing its cardiac and musculoskeletal research programs in partnership with the USOC, Henry Ford Health System and Massachusetts General Hospital aimed at demonstrating that health monitoring and early intervention leads to injury prevention and enhanced health and sports performances for athletes. Clinical research with U.S. men’s rowing, USA Weightlifting, USA Boxing, USA Wrestling and the U.S. women’s national soccer team is being conducted in the U.S. both leading up to and during the Beijing Games.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Leading up to the Beijing Games, the company launched a Web vignette highlighting GE Healthcare solutions that helped the U.S. weightlifting team. also launched a separate microsite for the Olympic Games which incorporates unique videos to tell the GE global growth story. During the Games, GE plans to participate in television advertising on the networks of NBC Universal.
    Select endorsed athletes: Heather Mitts (soccer), Bryan Volpenhein (rowing), Wyatt Allen (rowing)
    General Motors Corp.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1997 (for the current agreement)
    Senior sponsorship executive: Katherine Benoit, director of corporate marketing
    Collaborating agencies: GM R*Works; Campbell-Ewald; McCann; IPG
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: No GM activities planned in Beijing.
    Activation plans in U.S.: GM activation includes TV and online ads. No other on-ground promo activities planned in U.S.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Mix of TV and online ads with creative that includes GM corporate spots and Chevy spots, the lead global brand.
    Select endorsed athletes: None
    Hilton Hotels Corp.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2005
    Senior sponsorship executive: Jeffrey Diskin, senior vice president, brand management
    Collaborating agencies: Not available
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: Hilton launched its Be Hospitable program in May, offering U.S. Olympians and Paralympians tips on Chinese customs, culture and etiquette in preparation for the Beijing Games.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Did not disclose
    Select endorsed athletes: Paul and Morgan Hamm (gymnastics), the Lopez family (tae kwon do)
    The Home Depot
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1992
    Senior sponsorship executive: John Ross, vice president of advertising
    Collaborating agency: Octagon
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: None
    Activation plans in U.S.: Home Depot will be activating a cause-marketing program that drives consumers to help Home Depot support the U.S. Olympic Team. With each click to, Home Depot will donate $1 to Team USA, up to $1 million. The promotion includes online advertising, TV, print, direct mail and an Olympic-themed Kids Workshop. The USOC assets also will include the messaging.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Olympic-themed TV, print and online advertising to come.
    Select endorsed athletes: Employs 138 athletes through the Olympic Job Opportunities Program
    Kellogg Co.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: Did not disclose
    Senior sponsorship executive: Did not disclose
    Collaborating agency: Career Sports and Entertainment
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Did not disclose
    Activation plans in U.S.: Did not disclose
    Planned creative for the U.S.: A retail promotion is planned but details were not provided.
    Select endorsed athletes: Michael Phelps (swimming), Donny Robinson (BMX), Kim Hayashi (BMX)
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2004
    Senior sponsorship executive: Alice Li, vice president of Olympic marketing
    Collaborating agencies: Ketchum Sports Network; Ogilvy & Mather
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: 600 technicians, approximately 100 additional staff (all worldwide teams)
    Activation plans in U.S.: Lenovo-sponsored champions (Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh) host events, conduct media tours and partner with Lenovo on programs with their chosen charities, where the company makes PC donations. Notebook philanthropy program: At six months out, on Feb. 8, Lenovo launched a global online philanthropic auction of limited-edition notebook PCs inspired by the Lenovo-designed Olympic Torch. In total, 34 computers will be auctioned worldwide and 100 percent of the proceeds will be distributed through the Lenovo Hope Fund to charities such as Right to Play. Lenovo also
    created the Athlete Blogger program to help athletes share their Olympic experience with the world, including U.S. athletes at Lenovo is providing 100 athletes with IdeaPad personal computers and FlipCams. The IdeaPads are configured with a webcam and multimedia features to help the athletes in blogging and producing YouTube video.
    Planned creative in U.S.: NBC television (and affiliated cable channels) and partnership breaking during the Games. It will feature up to four spots, one created especially to showcase Lenovo’s role as the official computing equipment partner to the Beijing Games.
    Select endorsed athletes: Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball)
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1976
    Senior sponsorship executive: Don Thompson, president, McDonald’s USA
    Collaborating agencies: iLuka and RPMC (hospitality)
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: 1,300 restaurant employees for hospitality
    Activation plans in U.S.: Packaging across all bags and cups; Passport to Play program promoting active lifestyles at 31,000 U.S. schools; feeding athletes in the Olympic Village; and USOC Junior Olympic Skills Competition, which awards trips to Beijing for the Games.
    Planned creative in U.S.: To be determined
    Select endorsed athletes: Tyson Gay (track), Ryan Lochte (swimming), Melanie Roach (weightlifting)
    Nike Inc.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2005
    Senior sponsorship executive: Mark Parker, president and CEO
    Collaborating agency: Wieden & Kennedy
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: 150 globally
    Activation plans in U.S.: Introduction of lightweight footwear, apparel and equipment for more than 25 Olympic sports, including sponsorship of the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams; Nike also is an official outfitter, providing athletes with the medal-stand uniform worn on the awards podium and during medal ceremonies.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Print and broadcast advertising debuting in late July and running through August
    Select endorsed athletes: Cullen Jones (swimming), Kara Goucher (track), Bubba Harris (BMX), Abby Wambach (soccer), Sanya Richards (track)
    2004 gold-medal sprinter Sanya
    Richards is one of Nike’s many
    endorsed athletes.
    Bank of America’s Team Banking includes
    check cards, checks and credit cards.
    Tyson Foods Inc.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 2006
    Senior sponsorship executive: Dave Hogberg, senior vice president of marketing for consumer products
    Collaborating agencies: Arnold Worldwide, CJRW, GolinHarris, MPG
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: To be determined
    Activation plans in U.S.: Tyson’s Gold Medal Mom contest featuring Olympic gymnastics champion and mother of four Mary Lou Retton will provide a mother with a trip for two to Beijing; Tyson is providing protein to all three U.S. Olympic Training Centers, to Olympic Hopefuls on the road through travel nutrition kits and to U.S. Olympians at the High Performance Training Center in Beijing.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Tyson’s Olympic-themed Gold Medal Mom contest was developed as part of Tyson’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign.
    Select endorsed athletes: None
    United Airlines
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1980
    Senior sponsorship executive: Dennis Cary, senior vice president of marketing
    Collaborating agency: BDM Agency (advertising)
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: In addition to staff working at the airport, United will have staff in-country supporting the travel needs of the U.S. Olympic Team.
    Activation plans in U.S.: United will transport U.S. athletes and members of the USOC to Beijing along with much of their equipment.
    Planned creative in U.S.: United will be a national advertiser on NBC during the network’s U.S. broadcasts from Beijing.
    Select endorsed athletes: None
    Visa Inc.
    Sponsor start date with USOC: 1986
    Senior sponsorship executive: Kevin Burke, head of global consumer marketing
    Collaborating agencies: TBWA/Chiat Day; GMR Marketing; TEQUILA/Integer; SportsMark; Fleishman-Hillard
    No. of staff expected in Beijing: Not available
    Activation plans in U.S.: U.S. activation plans include an Olympic-themed advertising campaign (Go World), national promotion (Fastest Way to Beijing), financial institutions and merchant marketing and support for the Partnership for Play Every Day.
    Planned creative in U.S.: Go World Olympic-themed advertising campaign (launched May 19) consists of national television commercials, online and print advertisements and an online microsite,
    Select endorsed athletes: Katie Hoff (swimming), Paul Hamm (gymnastics), Allyson Felix (track)
    Similar to the Athens Olympics, Visa has
    utilized Michael Phelps in much of its
    marketing activation building up to Beijing.
    Note: Coca-Cola, GE, Lenovo, McDonald’s and Visa are also sponsors of the International Olympic Committee.
    Countdown to Beijing
    Next month: IOC sponsors

  • Web-based programs thrive for partners

    Mary-Clare Brennan, a 12-year veteran at the U.S. Olympic Committee, was promoted to her current position as director, sponsorship activation and fulfillment, earlier this year. In that role, she is leading a new department that will support USOC corporate partners with business research, brand analysis and strategic advice. She recently spoke with staff writer Tripp Mickle about USOC partner activation in 2008.

    What trends are you seeing among USOC partners who are activating ahead of the Beijing Games?
    Brennan: Definitely the use of the Web. The modeling of programs from a user-generator content standpoint is common. Bank of America’s America’s Cheer site is one of the best examples. I do think that’s a trend and a really exciting one.

    Why is that occurring and what are the benefits of it?
    Brennan: It’s logical. Looking at the proliferation of sites like Facebook and MySpace, sponsors are following where consumers are going and where eyeballs are going. Only the data will show if it’s effective, but from what I’ve seen, it’s been very effective so far.

    How do you advise sponsors to activate during an overseas Games?
    Brennan: That’s dependent on their objectives. If running a program like Bank of America does for our athletes, the Hometown Hopefuls, makes sense, then that is a great way for a domestic sponsor to leverage an offshore Games. But you’d never advise it if it doesn’t make sense because that’s a costly program.

    Beyond objectives, what we always advise is that all key constituents are hit by a program, so that it’s a really multifaceted program touching your consumer base, your B-to-B targets, your vendors and your board.

    You mentioned the Bank of America program. Are there others that you all hold up as noteworthy examples of what a sponsor can do during an offshore Games?
    Brennan: Anheuser-Busch has done a great one (with their Club Bud) but they’ve augmented it with Games rights. If you’re talking about a domestic sponsor or supplier who may not have offshore rights, Kimberly Clark is doing a fabulous job with their “Let it Out” movie. Hilton with their Be Hospitable program is a great one.

    What’s the most successful case study you can point to and hold up to sponsors?
    Brennan: They’re all so different, to be honest. Some of the package programs, like Coke’s and Budweiser’s, are perennially successful. Use of the property for sales incentives is also perennially successful. (Former partner) John Hancock did one during the Lillehammer days, which makes it a little old to use as a case study now, but when you see the property used as a sales incentive it tends to be very successful.

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