When it comes to sponsorship deals, few are more costly – and more rewarding – than the Olympic Games. With that prize in mind, here’s a look at some of the food and beverage brands hoping to strike sponsorship gold (or even silver or bronze) this summer in London.
- McDonald’s – When it comes to Olympic sponsorships, no one’s gold medal dreams are bigger than those of McDonald’s. The fast food giant announced earlier this year that it had renewed its Olympic sponsorship deal through 2020 to the tune of $100 million per four-year round (which includes one summer games and one winter games).
- Coca-Cola – Coke’s position as the “longest continuous corporate partner of the Olympic Games” dates back to 1928. Like McDonald’s, they’ve also extended their Olympic sponsorship deal through 2020. When asked on its website why the world’s most recognizable beverage brand became an Olympic sponsor, Coke’s matter-of-fact response was “…to build awareness for our brands.”
- Cadbury – This relative newcomer is signed on as the official confectionary and ice cream brand of the London Games (a title they also purchased for the Sydney Olympics in 2000). Like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, however, the chocolate maker has come under fire from anti-obesity groups who think Olympic sponsors should be held to a higher standard.
- Nature Valley (General Mills) – The games’ official cereal bar supplier hopes to distribute more than 11 million snack bars to athletes, media, volunteers and spectators during the 17-day event, but viewers at home aren’t likely to see the brand on TV. That’s because Nature Valley’s sponsorship is with the London Organising Committee, not with the International Olympic Committee. Still, as sampling events go, they don’t get much bigger than the summer Olympics.
- Heineken – Londoners are none too happy that a Dutch brew has been chosen as the official beer of the 2012 Games. Still, that hasn’t stopped the brewer from taking full advantage of the estimated $15 million opportunity. Last month, the Holland-based brand painted 150 London pubs green as part of its sponsorship, outfitting each location with Olympic-branded POS, glassware and specially trained staff.
MARKETING LESSON: It takes a big budget to compete on the world’s biggest sponsorship stage – and a big marketing team to take advantage of that opportunity.