Olympics Lose Another Sponsor

Kodak, Like GM, Out After Beijing Games

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Kodak is shuttering its long-held role as the official imaging sponsor of the Olympics following the 2008 games in Beijing, the company said today. The company has been involved in the Olympics for more than a century, and has been one of the games' major sponsors since 1986.

A spokesman said the move away from the games -- effective in 2010 -- is part of the company's larger transformation into a broader imaging company from an old-line film purveyor. "This is really about the significantly different company Kodak has become," the spokesman said.

Focus on other promos
The savings from future Olympics will be invested in marketing measures similar to the Kodak Gallery Scan Van, which drives around the country helping consumers digitize old boxes full of photos, and the Kodak Inspiration Tour, which takes the company's broad portfolio of printing and scanning products to state fairs and other venues.

Kodak isn't the first major sponsor to announce a move away from the Olympics -- which have drawn erratic television ratings lately -- this year. In August, General Motors said it was also leaving its longtime sponsor role following the 2008 games. GM spends $100 million on the games during Olympic years.

GM said it wanted to differentiate its brands better by spreading them over multiple sporting categories and venues, something the massive investment in the Olympics made difficult.

"The Olympics are almost too large for one brand to absorb," a GM spokeswoman said at the time.
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