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August 13, 2008

Advertising Agencies and their Clients are Watching the Olympians


BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008


Beijing 2008

Photo: Ad agencies are analyzing the Olympians.


NATALIE-SIGNING.jpg

Photo: Top U.S. Olympian Natalie Coughlin signing a multi-year endorsement deal with swimwear brand leader Speedo(R).


Brands and their advertising agencies are carefully watching the Olympic Games in Beijing to see which athletes are capturing the attention and hearts of consumers.

According to Scott Sanford, a senior client director for Dallas-based Davie Brown Talent, to be effective as a celebrity endorser, athletes need to be familiar to consumers, though familiarity alone doesn't guarantee influence.

"Being recognizable is just the start," said Sanford, whose agency created the Davie Brown Index (DBI) to quantify celebrities' ability to influence consumer behavior. "Are they likeable? Trustworthy? Influential? Do consumers find them to be aspirational? Do people sit up and pay attention when they come on TV? Awareness is a good first step, but there are other attributes that are more powerful when it comes to motivating consumers."


PANASONIC

Photo: Panasonic and former Olympians: Al Oerter, four-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and abstract artist, poses in front of the "Art of the Olympians" logo projected on the News Astrovision by Panasonic in New York's Times Square (Tuesday, November 28, 2006). Oerter, along with eight other athlete artists were in New York to help spotlight the "Art of the Olympians" traveling exhibit of sculpture, paintings, drawings, and photography by 14 Olympians representing 7 countries. Exhibit was shown at a variety of venues including the United Nations. Oerter won gold medals in the discus throw in '56, '60, '64, and '68. (Source: PANASONIC)


Michael Phelps

Photo: PowerBar signed an endorsement contract to be the exclusive energy bar sponsor to U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.


Sanford analyzed several U.S. Olympians who, based on their performances in Beijing to date, are likely to land endorsement deals after the 2008 Summer Games conclude:

Michael Phelps (swimming): "He was an obvious choice even before the Games and he's lived up to the expectations thus far. Even before the Games began, he was among the best-known U.S. Olympians. From an endorsement perspective, what's not to like? For starters, he's a winner. In fact, he'll likely earn an unprecedented tenth Gold Medal today. The phrase 'golden boy' certainly applies here. Phelps is exactly what marketers are looking for in an Olympic athlete: Focused but still fun; authentic; hard-working; handsome. His reaction -- sans cap and goggles -- as teammate Jason Lesak made his way down the homestretch in Sunday's relay was priceless. It's an image we'll see for years to come."

Natalie Coughlin (swimming): "Natalie's spent a lot of time on the medal stand, which has kept her in the spotlight. Off of it, her personality has really shone through. I think she's connected with many Americans. She handles herself wonderfully in press interviews. And her good looks don't hurt either from an endorsement perspective."

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin (gymnastics): "In terms of marketing potential, I'd say they're on equal footing right now. They have good energy and terrific smiles; good personalities. Nastia is the veteran; Shawn is newly dominant in the sport. They complement each other. With the U.S. team and China the clear favorites, there's a good storyline in place. Although they both have several sponsorship deals in place already, success tonight could push up their stock."

Dara Torres (swimming): "Dara's been a major story because of her age. The 'Supermom' image makes her unique -- it sets her apart from all of the other great athletes at the Games and gives her a strong hook or identity. It's what's fueled the buzz around her, which is one reason she's known by about a quarter of U.S. consumers. Those who know her tend to find her likeable and trustworthy. Endorsers are drawn to that. A Gold in the 50 meters would enhance her marketability, but she's in good shape as it is."

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (beach volleyball): "As demonstrated by celebrity-athletes like Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, and Michael Phelps, dominance -- when done right -- is extremely marketable. Misty and Kerri do it right. Their ability to work as a team is appealing to brands. Their sport is more fun than many of the more traditional Olympic sports, which appeals to a younger audience. They've also gotten a lot of TV time, so they're familiar to a lot of U.S. consumers. Of course, that's no accident. NBC has clearly recognized their appeal."

Jason Lesak (swimming): "His remarkable come-from-behind performance on Monday morning may not win him a slew of endorsement deals, but I wouldn't be surprised if he picks up some because of it. At 32, his success ensures him of a post-Games career in some capacity whether it's as a broadcaster or motivational speaker."

The U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team: "Collectively, I think they may have some marketability, especially if the U.S. women do well tonight. It would've helped their cause, collectively and individually, if they could've held on to the second position last night and won the Silver. Regardless, they did something in the team competition that no one would have believed possible as they overcame injuries to two key teammates, including former Gold medalist Paul Hamm. That's the kind of inspirational, against-all-odds, unscripted Olympic story that appeals to Americans and our values. It's also what makes the Games, and sports in general, appealing to brands. The 1980 Hockey Team, Mary Lou Retton, Kerri Strug -- these are the stories that really captivate an audience and provide a platform for creating instant and sustained marketability."

Sanford added that a number of other U.S. Olympians, including track, boxing, and wrestling athletes, could develop into strong endorsers over the next several days and into the medal rounds.

Source: Davie Brown Talent

|GlobalGiants.com|


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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 8:56 AM | Link to this Post






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