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O’ Say, You Can See

With the London Olympic Games in full swing, the attention of media audiences in the United States is intently focused on watching the athletes representing our nation compete at the pinnacle of their respective sports. The US has historically been extremely successful at both the Summer and Winter Games, winning more than twice as many total medals as the next winningest nation, the former Soviet Union.

This Olympiad will likely be no different. Many American individual and team competitors are expected to find themselves on the podium when the dust settles. The American Olympic team holds a certain rarified air of dominance, honor, and character, and it is always on display during the two weeks of the games. With all the medals they will be collecting, it is obvious why advertisers and sponsors want to be associated with the US Olympic athletes.

It is a well known fact that successful athletes are magnets for positive attention. Olympians are athletes competing at the highest level, and incidentally, they bring advertisers an ever higher level of value. Brands vying for association with the US Olympic Teams are attempting to capitalize on some of the most positively regarded and emotionally charged personalities in the world. It is no secret that the biggest brands desire this kind of brand association; think of how endorsements by the star of the 2008 Beijing Games, Michael Phelps, fared as he soared to fame as the most dominant Olympian of all time.


Brands like The Home Depot, P&G, and Visa, which has a dedicated “global sports sponsorship portfolio” spend billions of dollars on the quadrennial event. These companies will dominate commercial breaks and integrated ads across television and digital. Social media will be alight with conversation during the Games, and big marketing budget dollars will energize the platforms that carry the discussion. McDonald’s will open its largest store in the world for the Games, right in the Olympic Village. Yes, even fast food brands, often criticized for reasons that place them on the opposite end of the lifestyle spectrum from Olympic athletes, want in on this prime opportunity.

As the Olympic spectacle grows (this Games will involve a global audience of as many as 4 billion watching more than 5,300 broadcast hours), so does the opportunity for brands riding the coattails of the Games’ most recognizable competitors. How the games unfold will surprise, captivate, and inspire us, and the sponsors are counting on it.

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