Olympic Sponsors: Marketing Efforts in Quicksand

May 29, 2008

The media’s ever increasing negative coverage of China is stamping the entire country with a tainted “Made in China” brand image. This sullied impression, which now includes the repression of Tibet, is in danger of shrouding the upcoming Olympics. As local politics, environmental concerns, and product quality quickly diminish the glow of the country’s positive spotlight, corporate sponsors for the Olympics are filled with alarm as they see their own images damaged by association with the Chinese government’s misguided strategies.

So, should sponsors focus their brand strategies for these gaming contests on the rich culture and history of China or fall back on the concepts of sportsmanship and athletics? Either choice offers an uphill battle for corporate sponsors who normally enjoy the windfall profits of endorsing the Olympics.

Unfortunately, there is always a chance of the domino effect sabotaging the best of sponsors of any high profile event, and this time consumers could potentially associate China’s mounting bad image with those companies patronizing the 2008 Olympics.  How the sponsors fare in this fast approaching event now depends significantly on how well China handles the games and everything associated with them. One bad PR episode, whether it is protests, tainted food, poor product quality, or even the dense air pollution, could prove catastrophic for both China and the corporate sponsors. All eyes will be on Beijing during the Olympics, and its country’s brand as well as those of the Olympic corporate sponsors will be in a high risk territory that not even the Great Wall can protect.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Brandlogic and CoreBrand have become Tenet Partners — Where brand meets innovation®. More