SBJ/May 13-19, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

P&G builds Sochi momentum with USSA deal

Procter & Gamble closed a multiyear sponsorship with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, giving the consumer packaged goods company its first winter national governing body agreement ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

The deal, which sources valued at more than $1 million over two years, gives P&G the rights to activate at USSA events and use the USSA logo in marketing materials ahead of the Olympics. It also aligns the company and its brands, which range from Duracell and Gillette to Tide and Pampers, with Team USA’s best-performing winter NGB ahead of the 2014 Olympics. The company, which is an International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor, is in talks about having several USSA athletes serve as product endorsers.

“Given our partnership with the USOC and overall Olympics program — the sports, athletes and activation opportunities within USSA are a natural fit for us,” said Matt Hollenkamp, P&G’s North America sports marketing manager, in an email. “USSA events will make up over 50 percent of the medal opportunities in Sochi.”

P&G took a similar approach to its Olympic marketing around the London Games. It signed an agreement with USA Gymnastics and used the sponsorship to promote its “Thanks, Mom” campaign. It also featured U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber in marketing materials leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

Hollenkamp said the company is still developing its marketing plans for Sochi. Its brands are expected to make independent decisions about how to use the sponsorship.

The deal is the second sponsorship USSA has cut with a USOC sponsor ahead of the Sochi Games. It signed a sponsorship deal with Kellogg’s earlier this year.

Adding USOC sponsors was a priority for USSA Chief Marketing Officer Mike Jaquet. When he joined the organization last year, only one of its 24 sponsors, Visa, had the ability to promote its affiliation with USSA during a Winter Games because of IOC rules preventing non-Olympic sponsors from featuring Olympians and Olympic sports during that period. That cost the organization and its athletes exposure when the country was tuning in to watch their sports.

“The big reason to target the USOC sponsor roster is to integrate our athletes and sports into national branding campaigns that can continue to air and be active during the Olympics,” Jaquet said. “That’s a really key thing we can’t do with most of our sponsors. Adding P&G and Kellogg’s really allows us to increase our exposure and build some scale.”

The USOC supported Jaquet in his talks with P&G and continues to encourage sponsors to activate by sponsoring NGBs, said USOC chief marketer Lisa Baird.

“We’re seeing a positive trend among our partners who want to increase the impact of their sponsorship by developing relationships with NGBs,” Baird added. “They’re seeing the value of it, and what I love about USSA is Mike is demonstrating awesome creativity.”

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