Olympic Tracker: Non-official campaigns add to clutter

TWO NEW non-official London 2012 brands launched athletics themed advertising campaigns this week.


Fedex and Subway, who are competitors to official Olympic and London 2012 partners UPS and McDonald’s, broke with athlete-led advertising across multiple media. 


Although not official ‘ambush’ marketing, more classic ‘bandwagon campaigning’ (activating associated endorsements during the event build-up) they add to the recent tally of non-official, athletics oriented campaigns.


Both campaigns have what would appear to be integrated above and below-the-line activation, but I anticipate that they will have minimal impact.


Fedex have sponsorship pedigree and have gone one step further than Subway to tie up with Sportsaid and create an endorsement with 25 athletes. Subway has signed up Team GB pole-vaulter Holly Bleasedale and boxer Anthony Ogogoto to front its “Train Hard, Eat Fresh” message.


Both brands lack history and depth in the athletics arena and have few assets to actually engage audiences. Although associations with credible athletes are to be applauded, their endorsements don’t have enough standalone profile. 


Indeed, both are focused on activation of endorsements rather than true sponsorship, which is about emotively engaging audiences on many different levels through multiple channels to deliver cut through, impact, engagement and loyalty.


Cost effective and timely but not a real threat, the ad campigns will be an annoyance to both LOCOG and the official sponsors who have paid considerable sums to enter what is now a cluttered official and unofficial space.


However without a true sponsorship strategy and activation both are likely to blend into the clutter. They also lacked creativity; at least Dai Greene’s Network Rail video for rail safety "Track Tests" had a decent strapline.


By Rupert Pratt

Follow Rupert on Twitter: @RupertPratt