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Posts from the ‘Olympics’ Category

Blade runner

Not ‘football’, not ‘finance’ (maybe?) but certainly adored by ‘fans’ worldwide.  An athlete’s story brings a change in my outlook. 

Oscar Pistorious’ arrest for an alleged murder of his girlfriend remains a haunting prospect for all concerned. The depression and mental health issues witnessed in football, recently with Collymore and Speed, has increased an awareness in symptoms and side-effects.  Many cannot appreciate the pressures associated with expectation and the constant focus in the public eye.  Could this have broken the Legend on blades?  There were signs of it getting too much when losing to a rival in London 2012.

M-Net, a South African TV Station has withdrawn all its brand association with Pistorious. Not that his wallet will be hit or needed in the place he may be destined to train in.  Not surprisingly, his agent proclaims business as usual: “All sponsors are still on board, and they have given us their commitment towards Oscar, based on the relationships that they have formed with him over the past years,” said Peet van Zyl, who represents the double-amputee. “They are quite happy to allow the legal process to take its course before they make any other further and formal announcements on it.”  This unlike the parallel disdain of sponsors of cyclist, Lance Armstrong, that are now suing for damages and return of their investments. 

Pistorious’ sponsors include Nike and Oakley, neither of which were available for comment when contacted by the Associated Press, though are reportedly distancing themselves from any association.  Of course, these events are exceptional but it does bring fresh debate to the pros and cons of sportsperson’s endorsement.


Silly burgers

Incredibly, those who have nothing better to do are bleating about the disappointment in the amount of commercialisation associated with the London 2012 Olympic Games.

As we stared, the whole family, and watched the Torch travelling through Stockport, we were witnessing an Event of such magnitude unlikely to ever happen in my lifetime.  Yes, around me, even on that day the parading lorries from the likes of Coca Cola were subject to the odd quip about how inappropriate, but commercial marketing dictates that we need such sponsors.

Without this, these major events will be purely a drain on resources and certainly not be financially viable. I personally, like the way that Richard Pound, longtime IOC Committee Member and Author to Inside the Olympics: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Politics, the Scandals and the Glory of the Games” recounts the fact that all sporting stadia have perimeter advertising, yet at the Olympics advertising in venue is non-existent and athletes are not allowed to promote any products (hence, term ambush when they do).  In effect, the counter-debate is that the Olympics is the least advertising, invasive spectacle in sports!

McDonald’s came in for some early stick on the appropriateness or otherwise of its association with the Games.  Yesterday’s statement by Usain Bolt after his Gold Medal in 100M made me smile, on being asked about this pre-run preparation he retorted “I had a McDonald’s for breakfast”.

It’s an ambush

Reflecting on recent events, I thought that I would pause to think about some of the more memorable ambushes in the sphere of marketing tactics (“ambush marketing”).  A definition is: “Ambush marketing is an emotionally charged phrase that refers to the practice of appearing to align a brand with an event for which that brand has not paid for the right to be a sponsor.”

The inspiration for this post was after Wimbledon’s Champion, Serena Williams, was reprimanded once again for breaching sponsorship rules at the Women’s Singles final by taking her Gatorade bottle into the post-match press conference.  Naturally, she represents Gatorade sports-drinks product, but everyone knows this tennis event is the exclusive territory for Robinsons drinks through its sponsorship agreement.

Well here are some other instances of ambush marketing that I can recall:

In 2010, a Dutch beers promotional activity was seen as a blatant infringement, during the Football World Cup in South Africa.  36 ladies from Holland were held after breaking the law and sponsorship protocol at this tournament, all after scantily clad, blonde girls, in orange miniskirts caught the cameramen’s attention and thus executed this ambush.  How else would we know of Bavaria Beer?  Unfortunately, an ITV pundit lost his job in connection when his tickets were traced to this orange ‘wave’. Budweiser was the aggrieved party in this instance.

In 2009, Six Nations Rugby campaign, adverts for Fuller’s beer included a picture of rugby post and the strapline, “Support English Rugby”.  The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had to get involved given that the Rugby Football Union (RFU) objected as the brewery had not actually paid for the privilege of any association.

In 2008, Adidas had spent circa $200 Million to become the official sportswear brand at the Beijing Olympic Games.  Little did they know an indigenous ‘hero’ would undermine their plans.  The Chinese sportswear brand Li Ning (created by a former gymnast) had its’ moment of fame as he was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. Li Ning was China’s most decorated Olympian and a National hero. This media exposure effectively gave his Company a free ten-minute advert across China and the World. After the introduction of the gymnast by acrobatic wires to the main stadium, Li Ning’s Hong Kong-listed shares jumped 3.4%.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in the run up to London Olympics 2012 has said: “Those hoping to bask in London’s moment in the sun may be surprised at how restrictive the provisions of the Olympics Act are”. This being legislation introduced for purposes of protection.

The organisers of the 2012 Olympics have already taken the precaution of booking almost all the City’s billboard space during the games.  Also, any infringement using Olympic identity can result in a fine and penalty of £20,000.  But watch this space, the creative industry would see any fine as ‘small fry’ given the right exposure for an adventurous brand!

Big Stockport events

In this post I wanted to share the latest events programme launched by Stockport Sports Trust, where I am a Director and Trustee.

Inspired by London 2012? Want to become more physically active? Want to raise money for a charity that is close to you? Want to challenge yourself? More details including how to register at:

In summary, options are:

The Big Stockport Walk – 9th September 2012
Distance: 10 Miles
Start Time: From 10.00am until 12.00 noon
Entry Cost: £5.00

The Big Stockport Cycle – 16th September 2012
Distance: 20 Miles
Start Time: From 10.00am until 11:30am
Entry Cost: £10.00

The Big Stockport Run – 23rd September 2012
Distance: 10km
Start Time: 10.00am
Entry Cost: £12 reduced to £10 for runners registered with England Athletics.

Already, there seems a possibility of a reunion of some of the County Charity Cycle participants. At the timing of writing I think I might just consider all three!

Register and pay before 31st July to be in with a chance of gaining £500 for your chosen charity. I’m going to do them for a new social enterprise in Stockport that I’ve agreed to be Director to.