Olympic sponsors McDonald's, Adidas and Coca-Cola are media lightning rods

As Locog prepares to mark the '100 days to go' London 2012 Olympics milestone, sponsor brands are starting to feel harsh scrutiny by media and protest groups alike. So why have brands like McDonald's been so shy of marketing the real value their involvement brings?

As sponsorship success stories go, there can be few to touch LOCOG's achievement in raising £2bn to help fund the £9.3bn cost of the London 2012 Olympics.

Call it coincidence, but a rising tide of bad press for Olympic sponsor brands threatens to overshadow this effort, just as
we pass the Games’ ‘100 days to go’ milestone this week.

First came newspaper claims that Adidas Olympic kit is being made in sweatshop conditions.

Then the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges weighed in, calling Olympics sponsorship by McDonald’s and Coca-Cola ‘most unhelpful’ at the launch of its anti-obesity campaign.

The Academy’s point is half-valid: it feels odd for fast food and fizzy drinks to be sponsor­ing the Olympics.

Such brands, set in the context of the Olympics, will always act as lightning rods. But they have the power to deflect some of the criticism, and we await the ads from McDonald’s et al extolling the very real virtues of their multimillion-pound sponsorships.

McDonald's grass roots football sponsorship is proof of the value it adds away from big ticket sports events like the Olympics.

Disappointingly, the latest ad from the official restaurant provider to London 2012, timed for the '100 days' milestone, is a ‘Mascotathon’ Happy Meal promotion.

There are many stirring stories sponsors could tell, not least of how their involvement empowers athletes from the poorest nations to take to sport’s biggest stage.

Perhaps such activity is in the works. But in its absence, media grumbling about Olympics sponsors can only build a head of steam.



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message