Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent Claims Empty Sponsor Seats Are Not From His Company
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said none of the seats the company was given to the London Games for being an IOC TOP sponsor are "are going empty.” Kent said, “We have people that are making sure that we don’t have any empty seats and we have usage of our tickets. That’s the key, usage rate of our tickets” (Fox Business, 7/30). Kent added, “We not only have brought a great number of partners (and) customers, but also we have worked with youth in Britain and given the opportunity for those tickets to be used by people that are termed as ‘future flames,’ ‘young consumers,’ etc, youth from the street games that we also support.” The company has a “very, very high usage of tickets from all the tickets that have been allocated to us as a partner of the Olympic Games.” But he added, “I’m not sure that the empty seats are solely the responsibility of sponsors and partners of the IOC. I think perhaps there may be other reasons that I would not know about.” Meanwhile, Kent said of Coca-Cola’s Olympic sponsorship, “I don’t think about it as a typical sponsorship. This is a long partnership that started in 1928. I couldn’t see a better fusion of our ideals, values and those of the Olympic Games of enthusiasm, of fair play, of excitement, of bringing communities from all around the world together. That’s very much in-line with our own values and our own beliefs and heritage.” Despite the difficulty in quantifying ROI for the company, Kent said Coca-Cola can "count the amount of mentions, of amount of positive basically relationships that are generated with our brands, we can count those" ("Quest Means Business," CNN Int'l, 7/30).
TIME IS ON MY SIDE: CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla noted IOC TOP sponsor Omega is the official timekeeper for the Olympics and the “only sponsor whose name may be visible within a venue.” Omega President & CEO Stephen Urquhart said it is “difficult to give you a dollar figure” on all the visual impressions the company gets from its sponsorship. However he said it is "very important to the brand" that spectators and viewers see the Omega name. Urquhart: "It’s also important all we do around below the line and above the line to explain what timekeeping is all about” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 7/31).