Olympic Business

Business Sports - July 22nd, 2012
London 2012 offers first look at Olympic Torch design

What is so magnetic about the Olympics that companies from around the world are drawn to the Games? The events are so much more than simply a celebration of sporting excellence, it is a branding haven for some of the biggest businesses in the world. 

The most well-known names from all industries get involved somehow; be they from a pharmaceutical, financial, food and drink or electronics and manufacturing background, they all want a piece of Olympic pie.

At the end of this month, all eyes will be on London and the likes of Coca Cola, BMW, McDonalds and Visa will be prominent amongst the logos emblazoned on our TV screens and, indeed, around the city itself. As the likes of Usain Bolt sprint towards the finishing line, sporting history could be made.  Hundreds of athletes will capture the imagination of the crowds at the stadiums, velodromes, pools and their homes, wherever they are in the world. Records will be broken.

Marketing experts may believe that there is no better time to show off your logo but does the exposure justify the effort?

The head of Olympic sponsorship for Acer, the Taiwanese hardware and computer giant, tells us that the opportunity is too good too miss. Anton Mitsyuk, speaking from Italy, said that “it’s rewarding to be one of the top global brands able to go to the Olympics. The composite logo, for one thing, has a very big value to us. It shows the message of trust in our image and our products.”

Explaining the pressure that comes with the role, and illustrating the parallels with sport, Mitsyuk says, “this is a zero-tolerance-for-error environment. If our company can perform here, we can show that we are ready for any of the most challenging projects.”

It’s not only about increasing brand awareness and trust in the products. Acer is the fourth largest PC manufacturer in the world and has been an Olympic Worldwide Partner since before the Vancouver Games in 2010. From the consumer’s point of view, Acer is releasing special versions of its V3-571 laptop and in Europe an Iconia Tab, each with the famous five rings. So what will their role be in London?

Mitsyuk says, “well, for Acer, the fundamental aspect is building and maintaining a computer infrastructure. But it is more than just being a sponsor, we hope. We can bring our experience and expertise. There will be 13,500 desktops, 13,000 monitors, 3,000 notebooks and almost 1,000 servers deployed to serve venues, the media and the Athlete’s Villages along with 350 engineers and technicians.”

Particular athletes to watch, for Acer, include ‘Sunrise Japan’. The name given to the Japan women’s team (remember what the name “nadeshiko” did for the ladies football stars in 2011?) who have been given a local campaign by Acer: the theme is “Surprise Yourself.” Have a look at the video below and see what you think.

Embodying what could as easily be an either Olympian or business philosophy, Mitsyuk tells us even the global tagline the company is using, ‘Explore Beyond Limits’, can be explained in sporting terms. He speaks enthusiastically about even the more technical aspects of his company’s involvement, but our conversation barely strays from his excitement for the Games.

“There are modern day explorers who explore their world,” Mitsyuk says, “they explore their capabilities and go ‘beyond limits’. We think athletes are a great example of this spirit – every day, they are searching for new approaches to training to go above and beyond.”

Come the end of July, after years of preparation and work with the organizing committees – it’s not only at the Games themselves but, Mitsyuk explains, work with the Olympic Movement supporting local committees that they get involved – he says it won’t all be business. Sport, of course, will take centre stage.

Mitsyuk will be ensuring that Acer engineers and equipment serve the Games well, and that his marketing activation duties are taken care of but he is looking forward to catching a few events from up close. The tennis at Wimbledon will be a “special” moment, for Mitsyuk. He is a big basketball fan, too, but jokes, “I think we are all dreaming of the beach volleyball!”