Non-sponsor brands ramp up pre-Olympics sports marketing

Subway: launches Olympic campaign
Subway: launches Olympic campaign

Several non-sponsors of London 2012 are stepping up efforts to run sports-themed ad campaigns ahead of the forthcoming Olympics marketing blackout period.

This week, sandwich chain Subway and delivery service FedEx, whose competitors McDonald’s and UPS are official Games sponsors, unveiled multimillion-pound campaigns featuring athletes.

Earlier this year, Honda, whose rival BMW is the automotive sponsor, was investigated by Locog following a campaign featuring four Olympic athletes.

Subway’s campaign across TV, outdoor, digital and social, which launches today (Wednesday 9 May), features pole-vaulter Holly Bleasdale and boxer Anthony Ogogo.

The athletes, who will be competing at the Games for Team GB, discuss their favourite subs and their personal goals. The ads use the strapline, "Train hard. Eat fresh".

Later this month, FedEx plans to run a heavyweight press campaign and unveil a digital platform, as part of a partnership with SportsAid. Under the deal, the delivery firm will provide awards of £1000 to 25 "future Olympians and Paralympians" who will feature in the campaign.

Manaaz Akhtar, the head of marketing for Subway, denied that the athletes activity was ambush marketing, adding that it was a long-term programme and not timed around the Olympics.

In the US, the chain has a long-standing partnership with swimmer Michael Phelps.

However, Akhtar said Subway would be "taking down all marketing material" during the Locog-imposed "blackout", which runs from 18 July to 15 August. "We’ve gone through rounds of legal checks," she said. "It’s all very above-board."

Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing agency brandRapport, said the issue puts Locog in a "tricky" situation. "If brands sign athletes and provide them with income it will be looked on badly if they are then told they can’t do this, but Locog has to protect sponsors," he said.


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


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
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug