Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Winning the Olympic Marketing Game: Recall of Logos on Clothing, Equipment and Venues at the 2006 Winter Olympics

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Winning the Olympic Marketing Game: Recall of Logos on Clothing, Equipment and Venues at the 2006 Winter Olympics

Article excerpt

Executive summary

The Olympic Games are the world's largest sporting event, attracting athletes from all over the world. The Olympics also attract marketers from around the globe to compete for a chance to display their products' names and logos to billions of television viewers. These marketers realise that the Olympic Games are the most profitable global media event and that having their name associated with the Olympics is solid business practice. In order to control the marketing atmosphere of the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has adopted brand protection and 'clean venue' policies, which prohibit commercial messages on the competition field or in areas visible to television viewers. These policies differ radically from most non-Olympic sporting events, where sponsors' names and logos are displayed on athletes' clothing and equipment and on signs and billboards throughout the arenas and stadiums.

The purpose of this study is to analyse the television coverage of logos, hereafter referred to as just logos, during the broadcast of the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games, then measure audience perceptions, recall and recognition of logos. By comparing visibility and impact, the intent of event organisers and marketers is contrasted with the influence upon the viewing audience to determine if the efforts of the IOC are effective. To make this comparison, a content analysis was conducted to determine what logos were shown on television during the prime time Olympic coverage (62 hours). To evaluate viewers' perceptions, a survey was given to a convenience sample of 454 university students 10 days after the completion of the Games (Sandler & Shani, 1989).

The results of the content analysis indicated that logos were shown 864 times for 2 seconds or longer, giving a total exposure of 5,424 seconds and representing 37 different brands. According to the IOC guidelines, athletes' clothing is allowed one manufacturer logo, and equipment can have up to five brand names or logos. Logos were most numerous in alpine skiing and freestyle skiing events, where athletes had ski suits, helmets, goggles, gloves, ski poles and skis, all with names and logos.

The greatest number of respondents reported seeing two logos (28.6%) during their viewing of the Olympics, and 51.1% of respondents estimated seeing two or more logos on a single athlete's clothing. Most respondents estimated seeing one or more signs or billboards in Olympic venues, when in fact only one sign was shown during the television coverage. Overall, recall of logos seen on clothing, equipment and signs was generally low. Nike was the most often recalled brand name, followed by Roots and Burton.

Audience awareness of a sponsored brand has been the standard measure for Olympic marketing success, but measurements of perceptions may be a better indicator. The results of this study indicate that while the Olympic Committee is remarkably successful at keeping signs and logos out of the venues, the television audience perceived that there were signs visible on television. In fact, respondents generally perceived there to be more logos on billboards and signs in the venues than they perceived to be on athletes' clothing and equipment.

Introduction

The Olympic Games are the world's largest sporting event, attracting athletes from every walk of life and all corners of the world. Participants prepare and train for a chance to represent their country and compete against the world's greatest athletes in front of billions of fans. Performances are measured and judged, timed and scrutinised, and winners are rewarded not only with a medal but also with the prestige and title of Olympic champion.

Another competition at the Olympic Games, one that is just as fierce but takes place behind the scenes, is the marketing competition. Olympic marketing also attracts competitors from around the globe, competing for a chance to display their products' names and logos to billions of television viewers. …

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