When I start seeing promos and advertisements for the Olympics every two years, I become giddy. I look forward to watching the Olympics – summer or winter – with my family and cheering on Team USA. Since I work at an advertising agency, I also look forward to seeing how sponsors capture not only the spirit but excitement surrounding the games in their advertising and marketing campaigns through vehicles like television commercials, social media, digital channels and in-store signage.

As I watched coverage this morning on The Today Show, I noticed almost every television commercial that aired during the program was for an Olympic sponsor – Visa, McDonalds, etc. And, the commercials from organizations who weren’t sponsors referenced the games indirectly. For example, Subway’s latest campaign features U.S. Olympic short track speed skater Apolo Ohno with the tag line “the official training restaurant of Apolo Ohno and athletes everywhere.” Cadbury Chocolate uses a London Guard in their spot to indirectly reference the games.

The Olympics may have started out as an idealistic showcase of amateur spots, but it truly has become a valuable brand. Sponsorship deals can ensure a hefty return on investment for the corporations who sign Olympic partnership deals. Therefore, the activation of their sponsorships is key leading up to and during the Olympic games.

After doing some research, I found an article on CNN.com that explained in addition to sponsorship rights, exclusive monopoly rights are an essential part of the deals signed with Olympic partners. Visa is the only credit card accepted at any Olympic venue in the United Kingdom. McDonald’s is only branded food that can be sold at events and Coca-Cola the only drinks provider. Logos and advertisements for competing brands are covered up at all venues during the Olympics.

While EVR doesn’t have any clients sponsoring this year’s Olympic Games, we do have clients that sponsor minor league teams across New England gaining them valuable exposure on a smaller scale. Here are a few ways we assist them in the activation of their sports marketing contracts.

1. Create and produce retail elements to display at locations or stores (i.e. posters, shelf talkers).

2. Design promotions and contests through social media for consumers to win tickets and experiences like throwing out the first pitch or meeting a player.

3. Develop ideas for use of game day tickets with company employees, partners and nonprofit organizations.

4. Tag all advertising vehicles with “official sponsor” and feature the team’s logo. This can include radio spots, television commercials, print ads and direct mail pieces.

Like the sponsors of this year’s Olympics, activating sports marketing sponsorships at any level is extremely important. Your organization might want to consider executing some of these elements if they decide to embark on a sponsorship with a major or minor league team. It takes a lot of work but it will be worth it. You’ll see a much larger return on your company’s investment in the sponsorship and see an increase in your companies’ brand awareness.

CNN Story Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/25/sport/olympics-london-2012-google-apple/index.html

Olympic Image by http://davidreport.com/