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Volume 24 No. 236
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Sources: Advertisers Expected To Spend Less On Pyeongchang Games

Olympic advertisers GM, P&G and AT&T, are "expected to spend less on this year’s Games" than they did in '14, according to sources cited by Alexandra Bruell of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Some advertisers are "moving away from big, expensive events in favor of more targeted media and digital platforms." Others are "concerned about viewership for the Games, because of changes in media-consumption habits and less buzz around the winter edition than the summer Games." An NBC Sports spokesperson in a statement said that the network will "have national TV and digital ad sales" of over $900M, with "roughly 60% from new advertisers, 'a sign that the Olympic movement remains of great interest.'” Still, the cuts by "stalwart Olympics advertisers raise questions about whether their concerns could resonate with other brands in the future." Sources said that P&G and AT&T are "both expected to trim their Olympic ad spending by at least 30%" compared to Sochi. Both companies had "increased their ad spending substantially in the previous two Winter Olympics cycles." IOC TOP sponsor P&G spent $51M on U.S. TV ads in the '14 Games. Sources said that TOP sponsor Coca-Cola also "anticipates spending less in this year’s Games." Meanwhile, sources also said that BMW, which was a sponsor in Sochi, is "cutting back since it ceded its sponsorship role" to new IOC TOP sponsor Toyota (WSJ.com, 2/9).

MISSING IN ACTION: REUTERS' Liana Baker noted Toyota is "oddly invisible" at the Games. Unlike other TOP sponsors like Coca-Cola and Visa, Toyota is "nowhere to be seen, having sent only a few dozen representatives to South Korea for the event." Its cars are "missing from Olympic fleets, the logo is nowhere to be seen." Toyota signed its nine-year deal with the IOC in '15, after Pyeongchang was "awarded the Games, the result of a 10-year campaign that had been backed by Hyundai and Kia which were already in separate sponsorship talks with local organizers." Toyota still has the right as global IOC sponsor to "use the Olympics logos in its advertising elsewhere in the world" (REUTERS, 2/11).

HEY, YOU, GET ON MY CLOUD: IOC TOP sponsor Alibaba President Michael Evans noted there is a "very interesting alignment between the vision and the mission of what the IOC represents and what we're all about." Alibaba is the official cloud service provider for the Olympics, and Evans said, “It's not about taking share from anyone. It's about changing the nature of the Olympics and digitizing every aspect of it, from the front to the back end in terms of the way a fan would participate, in terms of the way athletes and media look at data and look at the event. Ten years from now we think it will be a completely different experience: more fun, more interactive, more immersive and a lot more interesting” (“Squawk Alley,” CNBC, 2/9).