Winter Olympic Viewers "Can't Beat the
At the conclusion of the 1992 Winter Olympics, advertiser and
Olympic Sponsor Coca-Cola broke through the Olympic marketing
clutter and posted an impressive audience return.
Performance Research, (Newport, R.I. based sports marketing research
firm) tested the awareness, association and image of Olympic sponsors
immediately before and immediately following CBS's coverage of
the Winter Olympics in Albertville. The study interviewed 700
random adults with 350 interviewed before the opening ceremonies
and 350 interviewed after the telecast watching a minimum of four
hours of programming.
When asked to recall official sponsors (within hours of the closing
ceremonies), almost one-half (47%) of the television audience
recalled Coca-Cola. Moreover, Coke's sponsorship awareness more
than tripled from pre-event tests where only 12% of those intending
to watch the coverage noted their involvement. Also receiving
impressive returns were the U.S. Postal Service, Chrysler/Jeep,
and Visa, each more than doubling from pre to post testing consumer
"top of mind" recall through their Olympic theme advertising.
And which commercial made lasting impressions? Advertisements
for Coca-Cola were recounted by 21% of the audience, followed
by Reebok (10%), M&M /Mars (8%), McDonald's (7%), Chrysler/Jeep
(7%), Visa (6%), U.S. Postal Service and American Express (5%).
Among other categories, viewers were asked to identify the official
Olympic car company. Because of their Olympic themed advertisements,
Official automobile Chrysler, overcame confusion from Buick's
past involvement, and was recalled by 31% of the television viewers
(vs. Buicks's 15%). Subaru, long-time U.S. Ski team sponsor, was
identified in the same category by nearly one-fifth (18%) of the
But not all sponsors utilized the Olympic theme in their campaigns.
Some, like JCPenny advertised very little during the telecast
and did not take full advantage of the costly Olympic rings they
paid for so dearly. When asked to identify the official Olympic
retailer, both pre and post respondents incorrectly mentioned
KMart and Sears more often than USOC sponsor, JCPenny.
So where does corporate image/goodwill fit into all of this?
Olympic sponsors were perceived as both "Friendly" and
"Global" according to the 7.1 (out of a possible 10)
mean ratings they received. Other, less regarded attributes were
"Leaders" (6.7), "Innovative" (6.3), and "Healthy"
Performance Research interviewed 350 random
adult TV viewers immediately before the TV coverage of the Winter
Olympics began and 350 TV viewers, who had watched a minimum of
four hours of coverage, immediately following the Games? TV coverage.
The margin of error is less than one percent.
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