Although global brands like Coca Cola have spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising and sponsorship during the 2008 Olympic games, many are questioning the effectiveness of their investments. Coke has already spent over $70 million to put their brand in front of a massive international audience, yet market surveys show that many people in China are still unsure of who the official sponsors of the Olympics actually are.
According to surveys conducted by the China Market Research Group, almost 60 percent of respondents incorrectly identified Pepsi as an official sponsor, instead of Coke! With a variety of huge brands all pouring millions of dollars into high-visibility campaigns at once, it’s no wonder that consumers are getting confused. In order to rise above the crowd, companies need to re-think their marketing strategies, and start going guerrilla.
Getting physical products into the hands of China’s massive market could be the answer struggling sponsors are looking for. Instead of competing for consumer attention with ignorable billboards and print advertisements, sponsors must rely on getting branded items such as apparel, drinkware, and travel items into the hands of potential customers. These types of promotions do a much better job of gaining undivided attention and delivering a marketing message while also building brand awareness. The Team Schwag staff expects a large portion of advertising budgets to be allocated for promotional products in the 2012 games, as sponsors learn from their mistakes and adjust their marketing approach.