Olympics and the FMCG sector

The quadrennial Olympic Games are one of the biggest sporting events to take place on earth. Billions of people gather to watch their country be represented by the best of the sportspersons, hoping to win the gold for the country. Due to the popularity and the perfect platform these Games provide, the Olympics is one of the prime and sure-shot ways for brands to get associated with them and make the most of it.

Every brand across the globe leaves no stone unturned to land the sponsorship to these games. To put into statistics, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 saw 14 major brands being roped in by Sony to present and co-present the games. 

Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) became the official broadcaster for the Tokyo Olympics and signed over 11 sponsors for the multi-sports with Coca- Cola, Amul, Hero Motocorp, JSW, and MPL as co-presenting sponsors for the Indian contingent. 

Brands and the Olympics have had a long history of partnership. To put their best foot forward, FMCG giants also put their creative and marketing units into making the best out of the games. Their task of bringing the attention of their product to various ethnic regions gets reduced as their potential viewers are glued to the event.

Talking about Indian brands, they rope in athletes for their promotions and what better opportunity to attract potential consumers and investors than Olympics? Their major source of attraction is advertisements and which are based on the vision and motto of their brand. 

To put things into perspective, let's look at certain brands and how they shaped their campaign around the athletes and their stories.  Both Tata Salt and Amul are very much a part of Indian history. Being fast-moving consumer goods brands, this historical angle is a key to their association with the Olympics. Indian brands came out with unique takes on ways to bank on Olympic fever. It could be seen in the form of INOX’s association with Boxers MC Mary Kom & Vikas Krishan Yadav and Tennis player Manika Batra, and MPL’s #fanbanjaoge campaign with Manu Bhaker, CA Bhavani Devi, Deepika Kumari, PV Sindhu, and Bajrang Punia. With other campaigns being JSW’s #RuknaNhiHai and BPCL Limited’s Jeet Ka Pakad.

Amul is known for its unique celebration take on its doodles. The dairy giant created doodles ‘Miraitowa’ and ‘Someity’ as Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games and Tokyo 2020 Paralympics mascots. It was accompanied by the tagline ‘Jalpaan in Japan’.

Rin’s campaign #AbWaqtHaiChamakneKa narrates CA Bhavani Devi’s story and the sacrifices her mother made to support her pursuit of Fencing. This emotional tale of the athlete is an attempt to attract the audience to use Rin who support the player’s emotional journey.

Thumbs Up, a subsidiary of Coca Cola, launched the #PalatDe campaign to promote journeys of Bajrang Punia, Manu Bhaker, and Deepika Kumari. While Coca-cola suffered post-Ronaldo incident, the Olympics were the perfect platform for them to make a positive impact.

Their TV series of #PalatDe, depicts the real-life struggle of athletes contrary to what Thums Up ads are, which involves high octane action featuring Bollywood personalities such as Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Ranveer Singh. This change of marketing strategy couldn’t have a better time than associating with the Olympics. This is an attempt to attract the audience to drink Thums Up to feel the same emotions and journey as these athletes.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 are deemed to be the greenest game in history. Advertising is not the only way to benefit from games of such magnitude. 

A case in point is the American conglomerate Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant P&G partnered with the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the Tokyo 2020 Podium Project. The project saw the medal podiums being created out of recycled materials for the first time in the Olympic and Paralympics Games histories. This attempt got a positive reception and the brand value of P&G hit a new high. This was no direct advertising or marketing strategy. One can call it more of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) being the key behind the project. It not only improves the brand value and image but also highlights the brand’s stance on issues such as sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

A similar venture was carried out in the form of the Tokyo Medal Project, where phones were collected between April 2017 and March 2019 to manufacture the game medals. The project was carried out in association with Japanese mobile operator, NTT Docomo.

The effects are retained post-games as it can be seen in the form of CRED’s campaigns. Known for developing campaigns banking on non-actor personalities, CRED’s association with Neeraj Chopra is a perfect example of the benefits of the Olympic association.

The similarity or the trick that each brand tries to emulate is they try to show that they are a part of the player's journey, or support them fully in their journey which makes the viewers connect to their brand and that emotional bond is constructed between the buyer and the brand. Thus, it also opens the door for loyal long-term customers.

As per Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, during the 2020 games, 31% of ads were dominated by Indian Olympians and Athletes.

Another point of consideration is that associating with the Olympics gives the brand a new sport to sponsor and to become a part of. The majority of the brands are associated with cricket and hence with the ongoing Olympics, these brands capture the sports which the viewers might not follow other than Olympics. This becomes a platform for them to start new and start from the beginning. This is also a window for new brands to enter this sponsorship league as a new FMCG face. 

FMCG all around the world waits for the Olympics to try something new, bring something new or grow something already existing as Olympics is a platform where an FMCG is put to a test if performed well, then the opportunity to go way superior to their rivals is confirmed.

Updated On Apr 15, 2024