Readers on London sponsors, Phelps’ future
According to Olympic.org, monies infused from “commercial partnerships account for more than 40 percent of Olympic revenues.” I’d like to share my thoughts on three Olympic sponsors that brought their “A” game to London.
UPS: UPS has married itself to logistics, and it touts logistics wherever it goes. During March Madness 2012, UPS even dissected the most famous NCAA basketball pass ever (Hill to Laettner) as an analogy to logistics. So in London, UPS again hitched its wagon to logistics. UPS called attention to their shipping 30 million LOCOG-related items through Facebook. Even better, they created a wonderful page that ran through all sorts of examples combining logistics with the Olympics and Paralympics. UPS added color and texture to its brand — and logistics — by embracing the Olympics.
Omega: When Omega sponsored the 1948 Olympics in London, who would have predicted returning in 2012, when once again the Games landed on the River Thames? But here they were, the official timekeeper of the Olympics. I love how Omega used history to tell a story. Reading their Olympic timekeeping history website (including the full Olympic timeline) taught me about the “Magic Eye” photoelectric cell in 1948, Remus and Romulus in 1960, and the Foggy Slalom of Chamrousse in 1968. You don’t wear an Omega; you display one on your wrist and instantly become an expert in Olympic history and timekeeping lore.
Procter & Gamble: P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” succeeded (and will endure) across so many levels. It’s relevant — we all have, or have had, a mom. It’s emotional — you see a winning athlete hugging his/her mom after victory, you choke up. It even offers staying power — can’t this campaign apply to any competitive activity? My favorite aspect of the campaign involved how they facilitated travel for mothers of Olympics athletes in London.
The Olympic Partners should be hailed for embodying the spirit of the London Games.
Swimmer Michael Phelps announced his retirement after he became the most decorated Olympian of all time at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Like many of us who enjoyed some of our best days participating in sports we began as children, Phelps has been living and breathing practices, fitness regimens and tightly scheduled days for years. He mapped his goals and conquered them on the world stage. Just days after his final event, he insists that he’s retired. For good.
Phelps might drip shiny award medals from his neck, but his superpowers likely remain poolside. He won’t be exempt from transitional struggles and human emotion that is likely to follow his retirement from swimming. It might surface in a week, month or year, but even though he voluntarily steps away from sport, he will still have to go through steps that many of us equate to grieving.
Swimming and training to be the world’s best is a large part of Phelps’ identity. He will need to redefine himself, and the sooner he can do that, the better off and happier he will be. The process of rediscovering oneself can be rocky and unbearable at times. Setting new goals and building a support team will help him with that transition. The rigid structure and plentiful support an athlete receives during his or her career is often overlooked in retirement. A new game plan for the after-life is critical, and a support team will be necessary.
Phelps has skills that are important in any career: competitiveness, strong work ethic and self-discipline. It is important for him to keep dreaming and competing in the game of life. I wish him well and encourage him to ALWAYS dream big!
Koonce, a former NFL player with Green Bay and Seattle, is university advancement director for the Urban Scholars Program at Marquette University.