Today, officially, and dare I say, thankfully, we say good-bye to the London 2012 Games, though not without a shout out to team USA’s men’s gold medal winning bball team. (Hey, Melo, any chance you can bring some of that juice home to NYC?)
Companies pay huge sums to be Olympic sponsors, and, theoretically at least, for good reason – for two weeks every two years the entire planet is focused on something positive. Not many marketing opportunities can give you that kind of stage. One of the London Games’ official sponsors, for example, was adidas. By some estimates, adidas paid, based on today’s exchange rate, about $160 million over the last four years for exclusive marketing rights in the UK only, which included the cost of the sponsorship, the ad campaigns and outfitting the athletes. The New York Times reports that the sponsorship piece alone cost (again, based on today’s exchange rate) about $60 million. To quote Macaulay Culkin from one of my top 10 Will & Grace episodes, “That’s a lotta chedda, yo!”
Then there’s Nike. They ran a wonderful, engaging TV ad called “Find Your Greatness – Jogger” that is not only a viral sensation, but has really captured peoples’ imaginations (you can watch it here). Then they stuck it to adidas in their own backyard with this print ad featuring the great British women’s marathoner and current world champion Paula Radcliffe. Then this morning during the men’s bball finals, they ran a “Game On” spot that was as kick-ass and adrenaline-fueled as “Find Your Greatness” was endearing (you can see it here). Cost of the sponsorship? Zero. They paid for media buys and production costs, but they paid no sponsorship fee because they weren’t a sponsor. Net result? Ad Age reported that of 1,034 US consumers surveyed, 37% identified Nike as an Olympic sponsor.
Call it chutzpah (look it up), call it good ol’ American ingenuity. But THAT is how it’s done.