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Olympic Gold for Coke, McDonald’s and Visa

March 11, 2010

rings1When is Olympic sponsorship money well spent? A Performance Research poll shows it may depend on how the funds are used.

Coke, McDonald’s and Visa dominate consumer awareness when it comes to the Olympics, according to a study by the Rhode Island-based research firm that evaluates the sponsorship industry.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans polled confirmed the Olympic sponsorship of Coke and McDonald’s, followed closely by 66 percent for Visa, Performance Research said. Those three companies also were listed as having consumers’ favorite Olympic TV commercials and doing the most to support the Games.

“They start their advertising early and they’re continuous with it,” Performance Research President Jed Pearsall said of the three companies’ success. “They’re always reminding people they’re Olympic sponsors.”

Other sponsors trailed far behind in consumer awareness — AT&T (36 percent), Procter & Gamble (27 percent), Polo Ralph Lauren (26 percent), GE (25 percent), Samsung (24 percent) and Panasonic (20 percent), according to the study.

Meanwhile, ambush marketing is alive and well at the Games despite the efforts of the International and U.S. Olympic committees as restaurant chain Subway was associated with the Olympics by 26 percent of respondents, Performance Research said.

Nearly half of respondents saw Subway’s ad with swimmer Michael Phelps, who won eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Games in 2008, and 79 percent of those believed Subway supported the U.S. Olympic team.

In a good sign for sponsors, 67 percent of respondents reported the level of commercialism associated with the Olympic Games was “acceptable” and 60 percent indicated they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in knowing who the sponsors are, according to the study. Fifty-five percent agreed “very much” or “somewhat” that corporate sponsorship of the Games is more important than ever.

Performance Research conducted the study online with 514 Americans ages 18 to 65 during each night of the Winter Olympics. The study has a margin of error of plus or minusĀ 4 percent.

(Reuters photo)

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