Does the Paralympics offer more cut-through than the Olympics? The Marketing Society Forum

Some observers argue that Paralympians are a more attractive proposition for brands.

NO - Nick Mercer Commercial director, Eurostar

The Paralympics has provided a previously unparalleled opportunity for UK brands to use an association with the athletes due to the popularity of London 2012.

Eurostar recently partnered the French and Belgian Paralympic teams, even adapting trains to bring them to the Games in comfort. This benefited the business through media coverage and, more importantly, has greatly contributed toward the legacy of the 2012 Games for our business and travellers.

However, the Olympics still presents that standout vehicle to achieve cut-through with a captive audience that hangs on its every event and the related media coverage of the Games.

MAYBE - Joe Clift, Marketing consultant and founding partner, CWA Marketing

While at Lloyds Bank and especially at Visa, I worked with our elite and emerging Paralympic athletes, so I know how the emotional engagement generated by the Paralympics can help brands gain cut-through.

That's not enough, however. For sponsors to make a difference and gain credit for doing so, they must build the brand relevance to that particular athlete or event, so that consumers can see the rationale and feel good about that association.

This is especially important with Paralympic sponsorship, where consumers may be more likely to regard sponsor brands with cynicism if their motivation is not clear.

MAYBE - Sophie Daranyi, Chief executive, Haygarth

The 2012 Paralympics has been a greater success than any of its sponsors could have dreamed. Attendance and viewing have rocketed and the extended branding opportunities offered by the partnership with Channel 4 have created great opportunities.

Paralympic success is linked to the enveloping cultural change of collective admiration for athletic excellence and spirit, and sponsors such as Samsung have tapped into this brilliantly.

Even though sponsorship is littered with credibility pitfalls, it seems that any brand that has supported any of the athletes this year is a winner.

NO - Phil Nunn, Global communications architect, Draftfcb

The Paralympics has been an amazing event and we would all love the answer to this question to be 'yes' - but that wouldn't be true.

In a way, it doesn't matter if the Paralympics or the Olympics is used, nor should it. The cleverness of the cut-through is in how the partnerships are exercised. Look at the great activity from Coke, British Airways and BP.

What is crucial is how you galvanise your communications around the content.


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