Marketers Bow Olympic-Size Pushes

What to Expect From the Games' Major Marketing Players

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The 2012 London games kick off July 27 and sponsors are launching or readying major campaigns around the event. Here, what to expect from the biggest consumer marketers hitching themselves to the world's sporting stage.

After a recent drubbing over nutrition, Coca-Cola's "Move to the beat" effort is aimed at teens globally. In the U.S., it will work with an "eight pack" of athletes, featuring them in ads; they will also interact with consumers via social media. There are also interactive athlete quizzes, prizes, sweepstakes and a "cheers" site to upload encouragement to Team USA.

The marketer's program revolves around a lot of digital, including a Healthy Share app with Facebook in which consumers can share with friends their progress in eating healthfully and working out (see story, P. 4). TV will mainly focus on health and how many of its b-to-b products, such as medical imaging devices, work behind the scenes to keep the world hale and hearty.

Counteracting views that it contributes to child obesity, the chain is running "Champions of Play," asking kids to track their activities and go online for encouragement from medalist hopefuls at the Olympic village. Big kids play in ads: LeBron James and Luol Deng face off over fries and a Big Mac. Also on tap is McDonald's largest Olympic Village restaurant.

The official timekeeper is running a series of lush commercials, several of which are long, lingering shots of its Olympic Collection London 2012 timepieces. But the signature spot is an anthemic one-minute video set to the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up." It shows athletes warming up for their big moment as a clock ticks softly behind with the tagline, "Official timekeeper of 25 Olympic Games."

Procter & Gamble Procter & Gamble Co. inked a 10-year global Olympics sponsorship last year, starting with London. Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard recently called it "the most far-reaching and ambitious campaign" in P&G history. It spans 34 brands and 73 countries, anchored by mom-focused global ads and including the "Best Job" viral video.

Samsung Samsung kicked off its effort in April with its U.S. Olympic Genome Project, linking fans to Olympic athletes via common connections. Under its overall theme, "Everyone's Olympic Games," the effort included giving fans a chance to participate in the torch relay, which Samsung sponsors. It tapped 75 Samsung bloggers to relay their insider Olympic experiences via its newest smartphones.

Visa's program is built around the concept that consumers can make a difference. Its push, running in 70 countries, features triumphant moments in Olympic history, with Morgan Freeman in the voice-over asking viewers to "join our global cheer." Fans also can upload a text, photo or video cheer they've created for the athletes and share via Facebook.
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