Citi pleased with early results, will weigh extending USOC deal

Citi's "Every Step of the Way" campaign promotes products like mobile check deposits and Popmoney.
First-time U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor Citi is pleased with early results from its marketing around the London Games and expects to make a decision about extending its agreement this fall after reviewing the impact of its campaign, Chief Brand Officer Dermot Boden said.

The bank reportedly spent more than $25 million a little over a year ago on a media and sponsorship package with NBC and the USOC. The decision left Citi with just 14 months to develop an understanding of the Olympics and craft a marketing program for the London Games.

The company developed a campaign called “Every Step of the Way” that it’s used to promote products like mobile check deposits and Popmoney, a new money transfer system. It’s been running the slogan in TV and digital ads throughout the run-up and during the Games.

“Some of the data’s already in,” Boden said. “The ads, according to tests, are scoring well in terms of memorability, impact and breakthrough. It’s doing what we wanted. We energized the organization, which was an important part of what we wanted to do.”

Citi-sponsored Olympians:

Bob and Mike Bryan (tennis)
Christie Rampone (soccer)
Cullen Jones (swimmer)
Gwen Jorgensen (triathlon)
Meb Keflezighi (track & field)
Danell Leyva (gymnastics)
Sanya Richards-Ross (track & field)
The company signed eight Olympians and put them at the centerpiece of the company’s online efforts around “Every Step of the Way.” It donated $500,000 and let Americans use Facebook and Twitter to direct the money to non-profit sport organizations selected by the Olympians.

Boden said the program was working well and had attracted “tens of thousands” of participants, but he wished that it were “30 percent” simpler. Still, he is proud of the work his marketing team, which is working with Glideslope, has done.

“There’s no question that if you look at the way sponsorship programs emerge, the first time around is a learning exercise, the second time you’re getting good and the third time you’re automatically good,” Boden said. “With this effort we achieved second-year status in our first year.”

Citi’s decision to sponsor the Olympics was driven in large part by its ability to buy both media on NBC and sponsorship rights from the USOC. The opportunity to do so was the result of a first-time partnership between NBC and the USOC that saw them work together to sell the financial services category.

Boden had not heard whether or not NBC and the USOC would be offering joint, sponsorship and media packages for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics. He said that the media component of Citi’s current deal made it easier to justify internally, but that much of the value of the agreement was in the association with the Olympic five-ring logo.

Citi will have some of its top executives in London attending the Games. CEO Vikram Pandit was in town last week for the start of the Games. After experiencing the Games and collecting data and results from its marketing initiatives, the company will evaluate the future of its sponsorship.

Boden said Citi will ask everything from how TV ads were to how its employees felt about their association with Team USA.

“We’ll look at the full gambit,” he said.

Return to top

Related Topics:

« Previous  |  Main  |  Next »
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug