|With Team GB's first gold medals won, national attention is naturally focused on GB's Olympians. So this seems like the perfect time to reveal our analysis of brands' GB athlete endorsement strategies, and to unveil our latest Synergy infographic - Synfographic - to the purpose.|
|We've looked at a group of 45 brands using current and former Olympians and Paralympians. The group comprises:|
- Global and domestic sponsors of London 2012
- Major GB sport sponsors which aren't London 2012 sponsors
- Other non-sponsor brands leveraging athletes in their marcomms
This revealed a total of 404 individual agreements and, if taking into consideration athletes such as Jessica Ennis or Louis Smith who have multiple sponsorship deals, endorsement of 267 unique individuals.
It is worth noting that whilst we have factored in Lloyds TSB’s support of athletes across GB via the organisation’s Local Heroes programme, the figure of 404 agreements does not take these numbers into account. Similarly, neither do the figures quoted incorporate Visa’s sponsorship of the Team 2012 programme. Both these programmes are based on the brands creating or sponsoring group athlete support systems, whereas we wanted to analyse brands' strategies for individual endorsements - brands that have taken on the challenge (and the risks) onus of selecting, contracting and activating individuals, many several years ago, as part of their London 2012 campaigns.
Risk versus reward: over half of the endorsed athletes have qualified for Team GB and Paralympics GB.
Whilst you may not be surprised at the dominance of athletics amongst endorsees, the Synfographic does demonstrate that there’s a healthy range of sports sitting beyond the usual suspects, reflecting the diversity of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Men's deals outnumber women's by 234 to 170, but the two most popular individuals for sponsors are both women - Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis. The two most popular men? Louis Smith and Sir Chris Hoy.
Looking at the brands, it's striking that the seven Tier 1 London 2012 partners are the heaviest endorsers, with 244 agreements in total, an average of 30 per partner, massively outnumbering any other sponsorship tier. Interestingly, non-sponsor brands are the next biggest endorsers, with 91 deals in total, despite the IOC Charter's Rule 40 restricting leverage of these individuals during Games-time, which has recently been challenged by several US athletes.
It's also good to see that there are deals with 52 Paralympians - compared with 215 with Olympians - reflecting both brands' support for the Paralympics and to integrate Paralympians into their London 2012 activity.
One of the major successes in terms of athlete selection has been BMW’s London 2012 Performance Team*. This is a programme that began with the BMW UK's central sponsorship of 27 athletes, both past and present, and evolved into a dealer-by-dealer support system for local London 2012 hopefuls. The result: BMW and MINI athletes now form 11% of the entirety of Team GB.
The main questions now are which sponsor has backed the most winners, and who'll be the post-Games winners in the endorsement stakes. After yesterday's heroics and today's headlines, Bradley Wiggins is sure to be at the forefront. Let's hope that Team GB and Paralympics GB produce many more over the next month or so.
* Full disclosure: Synergy is BMW UK's London 2012 agency