London 2012: Official sponsors' activity

The 55 brands that have signed up to be one of London 2012's official sponsors are looking to maximise publicity from their multi-million-pound investment.

BT: an official sponsor
BT: an official sponsor

In total those signed up have paid £700m to use London 2012 branding and affiliate their PR and marketing efforts with the event. This also gives them rights to use Team GB and Paralympics GB emblems and competitors in promotional activity.

Global partner status, giving access to London 2012 Olympic branding on global PR and marketing campaigns, is the top and most costly tier of influence. The 11 companies that successfully bid for this status include Procter & Gamble and Panasonic.

The remaining tiers offer domestic branding and promotional rights only. Those in the top domestic tier, such as BT and BA, have ‘partner’ status, firms such as Cadbury in the next tier are called ‘supporters’ and the final tier of ‘providers and suppliers’ includes among others Thames Water and John Lewis.


Suzi Williams, director of group marketing and brand at BT, says the firm’s position in the top domestic tier ‘gives us better preference and first choice on some marketing opportunities, but all the domestic tiers have some level of access to Team GB and London 2012’.

One of BT’s most high profile Olympic PR activities is its Storytellers campaign. It has recruited 100 non-sportspeople from across the UK to record their stories of London 2012, and what it means to them.

The campaign has a strong social media focus, with those involved posting videos on YouTube and blogs, as well as targeting national and local journalists. For example, one of the storytellers, amateur film-maker Tom Mallion, was featured in the Daily Mirror in November as he is making a series of films travelling around the UK to interview people involved in the Olympics.

BT is also using the BT Tower in London, which has been displaying an Olympic countdown and stages firework displays at landmarks such as ‘500 days to go’.Williams says: ‘As we move closer to the Games we will become much more event-focused, especially around key times.

’BT will also continue its sponsorship of The Daily Telegraph’s Sports Life supplement. ‘This has been running for two years to raise awareness of our relationship with sport. It is not advertorial but we are there to help give journalists access to things such as photography. You will see a lot more collaboration like this with journalists in the coming months,’ says Williams. 


EDF has been using its status as a top-level domestic partner to align itself with the Games’ focus on sustainability. LOCOG has pledged to minimise waste and greenhouse gas emissions during building work at the Olympic Park and the event itself.Gareth Wynn, EDF’s London 2012 programme director, says: ‘We are signed up to London 2012 because its sustainable focus fitted really well with our own messages around sustainability.’

The energy company is linking its policies to London 2012, including its investment in renewable energy sources, and encouraging customers and staff to conserve energy.EDF’s Team Green Britain campaign will be central to its PR efforts, and will be ramped up in the coming months. This encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint ahead of the Games.

So far one million people have signed up to this campaign, which has been handled with support from Weber Shandwick.All its sports ambassadors also sign a commitment to leading an environmentally friendly lifestyle and education packs have been used in around half of all UK primary schools.

As a French-owned company, EDF has also secured rights to use Olympic branding on PR and marketing in France, through a separate deal with the French and International Olympic committees.

Its international reach may go even further. EDF also has businesses in Hungary and Poland and athletes from those countries, as well as the UK and France, are among its sports ambassadors. Assisted by its sports sponsorship agency Havas Sports & Entertainment, EDF will be looking to ensure its ambassadors are promoted among the French, Polish and Hungarian communities and visitors in the UK. ‘There are significant populations of Polish people in the UK and we will be looking at targeting these communities making sure we are using the domestic media,’ adds Wynn.

Procter & Gamble

As a global partner, Procter & Gamble’s corporate PR team is keen to ensure journalists around the world are aware of the firm’s links with London 2012.

Its strategy is to promote itself as a family brand and this was the emphasis of a two-day press briefing event in January at London venue Vinopolis for Western European journalists.Among those attending was P&G global marketing and brand building officer Marc Pritchard.

Karen Adamson-Lloyd, the Procter & Gamble corporate comms officer who organised the event, says: ‘Journalists got a chance to meet senior executives and get a real sense of why we are working with the Olympics and about the support we offer families.’

Assisting Procter & Gamble’s Olympics promotion is H+K. Its brief includes handling its ‘nearest and dearest’ campaign, focusing on the families and partners of those competing in London 2012.

This will continue over the coming months and has already included a roadshow travelling across the UK offering support to athletes’ families and helping them understand the pressures of competing. Among those signed up as a Procter & Gamble ambassador is Patricia Payne, the mother of the swimmer Keri-Anne Payne. Further PR campaigns focusing on athletes’ families are planned ahead of the event.

Olympic sponsors: The full list

Worldwide Partners

Acer / Atos / Coca-Cola / Dow Chemical Company / General Electric /McDonald’s /Omega / Panasonic /Procter & Gamble /Samsung /VISA

Domestic Tier One Partners 

Adidas /BMW / BP / British Airways /BT /EDF Energy / Lloyds TSB / Sainsbury’s (Paralympic Games partner)

Domestic Tier Two Supporters

Adecco /Arcelor Mittal /Cadbury /Cisco / Deloitte /Thomas CookGroup / United Parcel Service


London 2012: How brands can compete

London 2012: Five ways non-sponsors can take part

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