Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics Podium For Brands

With the Olympic games now officially over in Beijing, we can now turn our full attention to the real competition on how all the endorsement brands fared.

Whilst much has been written regarding the multi-million dollar Olympics sponsorships from brands like Adidas and Nike, the two giants didn't seem to have gathered the amount of attention they'd initially hoped for. Smaller competitors such as Speedo and Puma managed to achieve greater surges in awareness and buzz by backing a smaller group of athletes who just happened to dominate the games and much of the conversation surrounding them.

Speedo scored the games' biggest coup, thanks to the amazing performance courtesy of swimmer Michael Phelps, whose eight gold medals dominated headlines of the games worldwide.

Phelps' success, along with a medal haul that saw Speedo-suited swimmers win nearly 90% of the swimming medals at the games, led to a 128% boost in global online chatter about the brand, according to a study conducted by Zeta Interactive.

Another record breaker and headline maker was found in Jamaican sprinter Usaian Bolt. His success sent interest in Puma soaring, as online chatter about the brand was boosted by 64% during the games. Nike and Adidas saw relatively modest surges of 18% and 17% apiece, despite dramatically outspending Speedo and Puma and sending a whole host of high-profile athletes to Beijing.

According to Advertising Age:

"While the results of the events can provide a boost to sales in their immediate aftermath, the official status of Nike (via the many Olympic teams it sponsors) and Adidas likely helped both marketers make sizable gains in the crucial Chinese market in the months leading up to the games, so their efforts were hardly squandered."

Whilst the sudden burst in interest in brands like Puma and Speedo certainly won't harm the brands, will their flavour-of-the-month endorsement strategies not backfire the next time around, if they happen to pick the wrong athletes to endorse?