Sochi Olympics Marketing Race: Subway Leads Ambush Marketers, Samsung and P&G Lead Top Sponsors
Subway takes the early combined-event lead; Rolex, Red Bull, and Nike among fastest Risers
Sochi Olympics Week One, February, 2014 Austin, Texas — The first stage of the Sochi Olympics Marketing race is in the books. And thus far the Non-affiliated Marketers are making their impact felt.
In the early the first stage of the two-week long event, the Non-affiliated Marketers (or Ambush Marketers) are leading the TOP Sponsors by GLM’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI) by a significant margin in a number of measures.
“Though not as prestigious as the games on the field, in the snow, and on the ice, the Ambush Marketing Race can mean billions in profits for the winners, and uncontrollable value leaks to the losers,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.
The ten TOP Sochi Sponsors are Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, P&G, Panasonic, Samsung, and Visa Card.
The eleven Non-affiliated (or Ambush Marketers) are Adidas, DuPont, IBM Global Services, Nike, Pepsi, Philips, Red Bull, Rolex, Siemens, Starbucks, Subway, and Unilever.
Some of these organizations compete head-to-head with the Top Sponsors, such as IBM Global Services (vs. Atos Origin), Pepsi and Red Bull (vs. Coca-Cola), DuPont (vs. Dow Chemical), Royal Philips (vs. General Electric), while others simply co-opt the Olympic brand equity to their own particular advantage.
The Global Language Monitor uses proprietary algorithmic services to perform brand audits, enabling organizations to judge their brand performance between and among their competitors and their peers.
The higher the BAI (Brand Affiliation Index) the closer the brand affiliation with the primary brand, in this case the Sochi Winter Olympics. Of course, not all Ambush Marketers plan to steal the Olympic glow from their competitors, a cost estimated to be up to $1 billion, fully loaded, over a four-year Olympiad.
Therefore, GLM uses the term Non-affiliated Marketers (NAM) for those, like Starbucks, who seem to engender a false impression of Olympic sponsorship, our research shows, because of their immense size, health-oriented menu, and image of busy, successful people dashing in and out. Nike, for example, is proud of its Ambush Marketing ‘stunts’ such as the ‘Yellow-Green Neon Shoe’ escapade in London 2012. and the record backs them up.. Twenty months after its stunt in London, it still is ranks higher than the BAI of three IOC Partners..
Subway, in turn, leads all Sochi Marketers with its unbridled, and some say outrageous athlete-focused commercials. As you see in the along side chart, six of the top ten and eleven of the top 20 marketers fit into the NAM category. (You can see that Red Bull is firmly ensconced in the top ten.
Over the last four Olympics, the Global Language Monitor has been using its Brand Affiliation Index and NarrativeTracker technology to measure the relationship of the official Sponsors and their competitors to the various Olympics brands. This is a longitudinal study that reaches back to the Beijing Summer Games in 2008. The names of the sponsors change rarely, but the non-affiliated competitors remain a core group with others that come on to the Olympic platform for but a cycle or two. GLM has found that there are many misconceptions continue to persist despite the evidence.
One of these misconceptions is that ambush marketing ‘stunts’ are wildly successful, such as Nike’s green shoe stunt in London. The Data say yes-and-no. The stunt made quite an impression for a week or two, and the lingering value can be seen in the Sochi Leaders by BAI chart. In the along side chart, you see that Nike has a current BAI of 26.30; immediately after the London stunt it measured 120.5.
To understand the value of a long-term Olympic relationship relationship GLM then measured the change in BAI from the end of the London Summer Games in 2012 to the first weekend of the Sochi Winter Games in 2014.
As you can see above, both the Non-affiliated Marketers and the Sochi Top Partners increased the strength of their connection — by the NAM companies increased their perceived relationship by an average of 34%, while the Top Sponsors increased theirs by an average of 29%, a small yet statistically significant difference. GLM then measured the change in the BAIs of both the NAM companies and the Sochi Top Partners from its study from 90 days out to the first weekend of the Sochi competition. The results follow.
If you are looking for these or similar analyses for your company, organization, university, or brands, call 1.512.815.8836, or email info@LanguageMonitor.com.