Brands winning big at London Olympics

Strict rules on branding and social media are in place to protect the sponsors of this year’s Olympic games, but that hasn’t stopped some non-sponsors from taking advantage of the opportunity.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Then, in an epic climax, American sprinter Michael Johnson broke a world record, crossing the finish line with a gleaming pair of golden Nikes strapped to his feet. He was later featured on the cover of Time magazine with those sneakers draped around his neck, along with his two gold medals.

Too bad Reebok spent $20 million to be the Games’ official sportswear sponsor.

Nike’s marketing victory proved an embarrassment for Reebok and the event’s organizers. The incident prompted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to clamp down on ambush marketing and ever since such incidents have been kept to a minimum.

But that’s all about to change. With London 2012 being heralded as the first truly “social” Games, this year’s official Olympic sponsors are more vulnerable than ever.

The business of sponsorships

The London Olympics are expected to be the most regulated Games ever in terms of protecting brand sponsors, and a major reason for that is the proliferation of social media. Sponsorship is big business. The IOC has already raised $957 million from the Olympic Partner program (TOP), which is the organization’s second-largest money-maker after broadcasting rights.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.