Marks & Spencer is ending its sponsorship of the British Olympic
team a year after its involvement with Team GB's gold medal successes in
Sydney because it has not proved commercially viable.
The high-street retailer, which supplied the formal wear and parade
clothing worn by British competitors during the opening and closing
ceremonies of the 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will not renew its
agreement for next year's Winter Olympics or the 2004 Games in Athens.
So far, just two of the seven top-tier sponsors, Adidas and MG Rover,
have renewed their deals.
M&S marketing director Alan McWalter said the sponsorship had been a
useful exercise, but it made no commercial sense to repeat it. "You have
to invest considerably in leveraging sponsorship to get the benefit out
of it," McWalter said. "Sponsorship can be a great marketing tool, but
only for certain brands at certain stages in their lifecycles."
McWalter said M&S would in future look to invest more money in community
tie-ups, rather than in high-profile sports sponsorships.
Last week, M&S unveiled its Christmas advertising campaign with a TV
push featuring stars such as Zoe Ball, Honor Blackman and Steve
The ad was created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, with media
through Walker Media.
McWalter said M&S would enjoy a successful Christmas because of the
quality and range of its products.
"This year has been all about building confidence within the business,
from our food campaigns to the launch of (fashion range) Per Una," he