Brand sponsors maintain existing campaigns for Paralympics

Olympic sponsors say they are not changing tack for London's next big sporting event.

Paralympics: Brands are adopting a 'business as usual' approach
Paralympics: Brands are adopting a 'business as usual' approach

Olympic sponsors are prioritising a smooth continuation of comms activity rather than launching major new initiatives for the Paralympics, as they face pressure over short timescales.

Brands are now taking stock of their Olympic successes - such as BA, which had the most memorable Olympic campaign according to PRWeek/OnePoll's latest survey (see below) - and putting the final touches in place for their Paralympics activities.

But many say their priority is to maintain continuity from Olympic successes instead of fundamentally shifting activities to reflect a different event.

BP spokesman David Nicholas said: 'We have had an integrated strategy right from the outset in 2011. There is no change - we see it as the same strategy. The emphasis will shift towards the Paralympians but the profile and the coverage we would look for will be the same as the Olympians.'

McDonald's, Samsung and BA have also reported a 'business as usual' approach to the Paralympics.

However, head of PR for Adidas UK & Ireland Sarah Gower said that the brand's huge Olympic star banner, which was wrapped around the outside of Stratford's Westfield shopping centre, is to be replaced by one that features Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

Adidas has also handed a brief to Speed-owned agency KTB PR to help drive sales of a special range of Paralympic 'supporterwear' clothing.

Brands are hoping there will be wider opportunity to achieve cut-through than during the Olympics because LOCOG allows branding in peripheral areas inside the stadia.

But Gordon Lott, head of group sponsorship at Lloyds TSB - the only partner to cover both the Olympic and Paralympic torch relays - said 'there is much less time to build anticipation' because there was only a two-week gap between the Olympics and Paralympics.

Director of Fast Track Steve Chisholm said much of the Paralympics coverage was likely to be dominated by his client, sponsor BT, and the other key sponsor Sainsbury's because the pair have signed exclusive agreements with broadcaster Channel 4.

Over the past week, Sainsbury's has held coaching sessions for disabled children using FA coaches and invited Mumsnet bloggers. The brand believes this will appeal to the supermarket's key audience of mums, who are 'extremely supportive of disability issues'.

HOW I SEE IT

Jat Sahota, Head of sponsorship, Sainsbury's

As the first ever Paralympic-only sponsor, Sainsbury's can enter into uncharted territory in terms of promotion. We have launched initiatives linked to our Paralympic sponsorship - including the Million Kids Challenge and the world's first online Blind Football game - that celebrate this innovative partnership.

Steve Chisholm, Director, Fast Track (BT agency)

All the athletes have remarkable stories to tell, but only now are they being seen as hardcore professional athletes. This means there may be less focus on their back stories, though these will remain powerful.

STATS

2.2m - Number of tickets for the Paralympic Games sold so far*

2.4m - Number of tickets expected to be made available in total*

4,200 - Number of competitors in the Paralympic Games**

21 - Number of sports in the Paralympic Games**

Source: *BBC and **LOCOG.

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