Olympic ties earn brands good press

NEW YORK: Brands aligned with the 2008 Games saw far more positive news coverage than negative, despite pre-Olympic protests, according to a Hill & Knowlton-sponsored study conducted by ComMetric.

NEW YORK: Brands aligned with the 2008 Games saw far more positive news coverage than negative, despite pre-Olympic protests, according to a Hill & Knowlton-sponsored study conducted by ComMetric.

The study examined the coverage received by 36 major Olympic sponsors and partners in thousands of articles during the Games and from the two years leading up to them.

For example, Visa was mentioned positively 51 times and neutrally 102 times during August 2008, while it received only 12 negative articles.

“Current sponsors will be thinking favorably about the next Olympic[s] and brands that
have not sponsored will be thinking more positively [about it] in the future,” said MaryLee Sachs, H&K's worldwide head of marketing communications.

H&K worked with the Beijing Organizing Committee and was chosen by the Chicago 2016 Bid Committee for communications support.

Overall, researchers found that in August 2008, 31% of English-language news stories mentioning both the Olympics and a sponsor were positive while only 10% were negative. Another 59% were neutral.

Coverage of major sponsors was more balanced the year before: 40% positive, 4% negative, 56% neutral.

The study, released September 29, also looked at the number of mentions each of the sponsors received. Visa, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Adidas were the top four, all at around 13%. While Chinese companies were mentioned less in comparison to the global brands, the study found that their international coverage was 17% more favorable than articles about global brands.

The study examined 14,000-plus articles from September 2006 to August 2008 quantitatively. It also looked at 1,431 English and 457 Chinese articles published during the Games, and another 300 English articles from August 2007 qualitatively.


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