Reputation Survey: Olympic sponsors

Research reveals that power supplier EDF Energy is the most high-profile domestic sponsor.

OnePoll: the public's view of the Olympics
OnePoll: the public's view of the Olympics

Just six months before the start of London 2012, EDF Energy has emerged as the domestic sponsor that most people associate with the event.

According to the latest PRWeek/OnePoll survey, 21 per cent of respondents linked the energy firm more closely with the Olympics than the other top tier domestic sponsors.

Adidas came second with 14 per cent of the vote, while BMW lagged at the bottom with less than four per cent.

Respondents were also asked to choose which company from different sectors they most associated with the event.
For each sector, a major sponsor was an option along with its non-sponsor rivals.

British Airways’ promotional work appears to be paying off, with 36 per cent identifying it with the Olympics and only 13 per cent identifying its nearest non-sponsor competitor Virgin Atlantic.

However, the gap between official Olympics sponsor Adidas, at 27 per cent, and non-sponsor Nike at 22 per cent, was rather small.

Although 43 per cent said fast-food firms such as global event partners Coca-Cola and McDonald’s should not be allowed to sponsor the event, these two companies were among the strongest when it came to brand association within their markets.

Unlike any other brand, more people associated Coca-Cola, at 51 per cent, with the Games than did not, while 45 per cent linked McDonald’s to the Olympics.

Survey of 2,086 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll


These results shine a light on the distance that many consumers feel from both global brands and the Olympic Games.

With nine out of ten consumers saying they would not buy a product just because of its association with Olympics, sponsors need to ask how their investment will make an impact.

Olympic sponsorship is always a tough brief. The translation from big global brands sponsoring a big global event to genuine consumer engagement is not easy. People increasingly do not care who the official sponsors are. They care about the brands that share their passion or facilitate something useful or entertaining and ‘official partners’ can struggle to do this. Stamping a logo on the Olympics is no substitute for genuine creativity and engagement with consumers.  

There are six months left for brands to do the business and for London 2012 to win hearts and minds. But, rather like sprinting while eating a Big Mac, the results of sponsorship deals could be hard to swallow.

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