Olympics May Not Be a Boon to Sponsors

July 27, 2012

researchnow-attitudes-olympic-sponsors-july2012.pngAmong consumers who plan to watch the 2012 London Olympics, more than half wrongly believe that Nike is an official sponsor, according to a survey released in July by Research Now. Respondents from the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Australia are confused about which companies are official Olympic sponsors, and view some sponsors as inappropriate.

Brands associated with images of sports and athleticism are commonly misperceived as being Olympic sponsors. 60% of American respondents and 67% of French respondents believe that Nike is a sponsor, and 49% of French respondents believe Evian is a sponsor. 21% of UK respondents believe Red Bull is a sponsor.

High-awareness brands including Microsoft and Google were also falsely perceived by 14% of UK residents as being sponsors. And, brand awareness varies from one market to the next. US and Canadian respondents were twice as likely as those from the UK, France and Germany to be familiar with GE and Procter & Gamble.

Sponsorship Does Not Guarantee Esteem

Of 11 official sponsors, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Visa and Samsung all scored over 90% in brand awareness across all six countries. But McDonald’s and Coca-Cola were also perceived as the least appropriate sponsors, owing to growing concerns over obesity and health problems. More than twice the number of UK respondents as Americans indicated they see no correlation between McDonald’s and the Olympics (46% in UK, 21% in US), or between Coca-Cola and the games (28% UK, 11% US).

However those brands are perceived, they can expect exposure to nearly three quarters of residents in 24 countries, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Reuters, released in July.

64% Will Watch On TV

Despite the explosion of digital media, satellite and cable television will be the most popular way to follow the Olympics according to Research Now. When asked which medium respondents plan on using to access coverage of the events, 64% overall indicated satellite and cable TV as their preferred method, followed by newspapers (43%), radio (31%) and news websites (31%).

The Ipsos survey revealed that 72% of residents in those countries plan to watch at least some of 2012 Olympics, chiefly on TV sets (65%, neatly in line with the Research Now findings), but also on the internet (23%), smartphones (6%) and tablets (4%). Of the events, global citizens will follow track and field (20%) and soccer (20%) most closely, followed by swimming (16%), gymnastics (14%), volleyball (5%), tennis (5%), basketball (4%), boxing (3%) and cycling (2%).

Sponsors will pay increasingly hefty prices for TV spots during those events: Nielsen reports that the average cost of a 30-second TV commercial spot during the Olympics opening ceremony more than doubled from $155,000 in 1988 to $320,000 in 2008 (not adjusted for inflation). But TV spots are just one element of exposure. Sponsors gain much of their exposure from, for example, clearly visible signage surrounding the athletic fields and frequent mentions by broadcast announcers.

Other Findings:

  • 28% of UK residents plan to watch more than 30 hours of the Olympics, more than any other national group polled by Research Now.
  • 21% of respondents overall plan on watching 1-5 hours, while 15% plan on watching 6-9 hours or 10-15 hours, 10% plan on watching 16-20 hours, and 7% plan on watching over 30 hours.
  • 25% of 16-34 year olds in the UK think of the Olympics as a waste of money.

About The Data: Research Now surveyed 7,200 consumers aged 16 and over who acknowledged that they would be watching at least some of the Olympic Games this year. Interviews were conducted globally between June 7 and June 18, 2012, with 1,200 interviews conducted in each of the following six markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Ipsos data is based on an international sample of 18,623 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in 22 other countries, who were interviewed online between June 5 -19.

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