Is sponsoring the Olympics a waste of money for 52% of the unrecognised official brand sponsors pre-Games?


By Charlotte De Maria

The scale of such a global sporting event provides one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world for large, corporate players in the brand world. Vox Pops International interviewed 40 people to test their awareness of Olympic sponsors. Following the research, the three key findings were as follows: the public’s lack of awareness of official Olympic sponsors (pre-Games); that McDonalds and Coca Cola were seen as inappropriate sponsors for the sporting event; and that of the 50% of people who applied, only 10% got tickets.

In the lead, the most recognised Olympic sponsor by 48% of the sample was Adidas. In second place, non-Olympic sponsor Nike was incorrectly listed by 35% of the sample. Thirdly was McDonalds, mentioned by 25% of people, and Coca Cola by 15%. Only 1 respondent mentioned Lloyds TSB (the official bank sponsor of The Olympic Games). Non-Olympic sponsors Powerade, Lucozade and Pepsi were also referenced incorrectly by several respondents. Among the remaining sponsors, a further 15% of people listed British Airways, 10% remembered BT and only 5% mentioned EDF, Samsung, UPS, VISA, BP and Cadbury’s. Of the 25 official Olympic sponsors, 12 were not immediately associated by the sample.

When prompted with a list, a further 40% of people remembered McDonalds and Coca Cola, 25% knew of Lloyds TSB’s Olympic association, 15% acknowledged UPS as a sponsor and 10% knew of Omega, Thomas Cook and Deloitte. Despite their well-established brand presence in the public eye, the lack of immediate awareness for their associative Olympic sponsorship, pre-Games, proves that brands are finding it difficult to rise above the storm of other brands already well established in the public’s imagination as being associated with sport.

Fatima, 18 told Vox Pops International her relative thoughts: “Companies like McDonalds and Coke don’t really fit in well with the whole Olympic idea of running fast and keeping healthy with a good diet,” whilst Chris, 28 agreed: “You wouldn’t normally anticipate things like Coca Cola, McDonalds, being associated with a sporting event but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were, simply because of the exposure that anyone would associate with The Olympics.”

Being a notoriously oversubscribed event, a large proportion of the UK applied yet did not get tickets. Of the sample, 40% applied and failed to get tickets, 50% did not bother applying whilst a mere 10% were allocated tickets. Joe, 69 told us of his struggle: “As avid sports fans, we’ve been looking forward to the Olympics since The Games have been announced and we can’t get tickets!” Others told VPI of their frustration with the ticket allocation process: “It’s a money making business which I think has lost what the Olympics is about really.” Caroline, 56.

For a complimentary copy of the white paper on ‘How to Maximise & Communicate Market Research’ please go to

About the Author

Charlotte De Maria is the PR and Marketing Manager at Vox Pops International. She is responsible for writing, marketing and distributing newsworthy insight content on behalf of Vox Pops International, a video communications agency.

About Vox Pops International

Having been established for over 20 years as a research, video and communications agency, Vox Pops International work worldwide to provide blue chip clients with professional, high quality, creative films that bring their customers and marketing messages to life. Their videos allow research and insight to be used in organisations to educate, engage and train people across departments, in an easy to digest format, via many channels, including intranets, plasma screens, internet and social media. They are also used to manage knowledge, promote products or services, communicate messages and information, inspire and motivate.

Relevant Links

Animated Olympics video –

McDonalds and Coke video –

Other sponsors video –

Sports brands video-

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s