What Does An Olympic Sponsorship Do For Brands?

Get ready: The London Olympics are coming in a few weeks. To be honest, I’m not much into the Olympics as a whole, although it was quite cool to be living in Atlanta in the Summer of 1996 when the games were there.

But it’s no secret that brands and marketers leap at the chance to be an official sponsor. So what’s in it for them? Prestige? Visibility?

One of the brands that has been criticized for sponsoring the Olympics is McDonald’s. An article on McDonald’s sponsorship of the Olympics points out that McDonald’s is the only restaurant that can sell fries (chips) at Olympic venues. Anyone else can only do it as a “Fish n’ chips” combo.

Regardless of what you think about McDonald’s food, they’ll likely be tying their brand to Olympic excellence. That’s generally the strategy for most marketers. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see more spots like this one, for Visa:

Does it make you feel better about Visa? Or are all the sponsor brands simply glomming onto a big event and enjoying the ride?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. It’s all about visibility. When there are hundreds of millions of people watching these events, it is a perfect way for these companies to advertise. They can advertise their brand or product to more people in a few days that the whole year!