By: Emily Smith
This past August, the Summer Olympics came to London. The world was ready to watch their favorite athletes compete on the global stage, American pride was at a high, and London was still the center of attention after the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Everything was in place for it to be an Olympics to remember.
After disagreements between Nike and Adidas during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 over sponsorship rights, Nike dropped their sponsorship for London. Adidas, however, paid almost $63 million in sponsorship fees and was the official licensor of branded apparel.
Nike was not allowed to even put a billboard anywhere within a certain distance from London. They were not allowed to mention the Olympics in any of their advertising campaigns. However, being Nike, they managed to find a loophole.
This ad was timed to run right around the opening ceremony and showcased everyday athletes around the world in various cities and towns called “London” with the tagline “Find your Greatness.” It was set to air in 25 countries. They managed to tie themselves to the Olympics without actually mentioning them in any way.
The Olympic committee tried to sue them for what they called an “ambush ad” but it was decided that they had not actually broken any rules and the case against them was dropped.
Nike’s brilliance didn’t just end there. Right before the Olympics, they debuted a new line of shoes called the Nike Volt Collection. They were a highlighter yellow and the athletes who wore them stood out against the track. They could also be seen in crowds being worn by spectators.
Without actually paying to be talked about, these little yellow shoes created such a buzz that Nike became, once again, the topic of conversation. Even after the Olympics, the shoes were one of the most memorable parts of the games.
While reading about event sponsorship in our textbook, we learned that it could be most effective when the sponsor targets top athletes because it associates their brand with the winner. It can help create a feeling of excellence when you wear that brand. Adidas may have been the official athletic apparel sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, but when Nike’s athletes crossed the finish line in those bright yellow shoes, it had an obvious effect on consumers.
When it comes to advertising, Nike is still “Just Doing It.”