The Rio 2016 Olympics offers brands and agencies the opportunity to draw large audiences and capture the public mood
What does it take to win the World Cup of Soccer — on and off the field of play? Do your sponsorship and marketing efforts have what it takes? Let’s find out.
On June 12, 2014, all eyes will be on Brazil as one of the World’s largest spectacles, the 2014 World Cup of Soccer kicks off. The world’s most widely viewed sporting event features thirty-two teams vying for the FIFA World Cup “Gold” Trophy. 3.2 billion people worldwide watched the 2010 World Cup – 46.6% of the world! The stage is set for a fierce, global competition with millions of dollars on the line for the winning team and players. But that’s just the start, with so many people following the competition, the stage is also set for a global showdown of advertising and sponsorship activations – winning this battle too is worth millions of dollars in sales, share of market and shareholder value. So, what does it take to win this global marketing battle?
As Brazil prepares to claim it’s sixth World Cup title (many hope), so too are some of the world’s largest marketers: Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Last week on April 2, 2014, Coca-Cola announced the launch of the brands largest ever campaign “The World’s Cup”, created specifically for the 2014 FIFA World Cup spectacle. The nucleus of this campaign emotionally connects the power of the game of soccer across hundreds of nations unifying people from these nations leading to “One World, One Game”. Wendy Clark, senior VP global sparkling brand commented “And we wanted our campaign to celebrate this message of inclusivity and togetherness. ” Weiden and Kennedy the agency that co-created the campaign featured a film inviting young people from across the globe to attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup (as an official FIFA World Cup sponsor, Coca-Cola has the unique opportunity to do this). In addition to the film feature, a series of documentary-style short films features unique groups of people passionate about soccer. The genesis of “The World’s Cup” campaign is based on insights from Coke’s core consumers – teenagers and young adults.
After an exhaustive recruitment and research effort to find the people to be featured in the campaign, the campaign features images of many people with disabilities celebrating those who are often overlooked and truly inviting everyone to be part of “The World’s Cup”.
What is Coca-Cola doing to leverage and activate their 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsorship? Here’s what I see taking place:
#1: Coca-Cola is delivering a simple, clear, compelling message;
#2: Coca-Cola is with connecting with their core audience of teenagers and young people emotionally;
#3: Coca-Cola is taking an integrated, holistic approach to bring their efforts to life. The have integrated their marketing communications with a simple message at all touch points;
#4: Coca-Cola is communicating their core strategy “Happiness” through sport. “The World’s Cup: campaign is not a sponsorship or sport message, it’s Coke’s global marketing platform.;
#5: “The World’s Cup” is Innovative – Coca-Cola adds value to existing ideas and platforms such as the use of film and short documentaries to reach the younger audience via digital in a relevant manner. Coke also uses “experiential” marketing to bring the World Cup Trophy to nations across the globe;
#6: Coca-Cola is engaging their core audience through digital and social mediums such as twitter, YouTube, Facebook “The Happiness Flag”;
#7: Coca-Cola brings the FIFA 2014 World Cup experience to those who can’t attend the event;
#8: Coca-Cola has gathered best practices from recent Olympic experiences 2014 Sochi and 2012 London and 2010 World Cup and reapplies the key learnings to make their programs stronger, relevant to the core audience, creates differentiation vs. other beverage options and substantiates the Return on Investment with proven results at retail;
#9: Coca-Cola demonstrates executional effectiveness consistently across many markets in the short and long term;
Coca-Cola, is an official sponsor of the event, stating it is the largest marketing program in company history. Coca-Cola Global Dir of Football Marketing Arnab Roy said, “In 2010, the campaign was run across 160 countries. For the Brazil World Cup, we’re reaching more than 190 countries.”
#10: Build a strong, proactive PR program. Coca-Cola has learned from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and is prepared to deal with negative press and activists proactively. If unrest hits the World Cup event, Joe Tripodi Coca-Cola’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer commented “Coca-Cola has contingency plans in place to adapt its World Cup Sponsorship and soften it’s celebratory tone in Brazil.” “That (World Cup) spotlight can act as an opportunity to tell a story of happiness but it can also be a spotlight to tell a story of grievances and concerns (the public) have about the direction of the country”.
It appears that Coca-Cola has a well planned program rivalling that of P&G’s “Thank You Mom” Campaign and Visa’s “Go World”. But is that what it takes to win?
There is one more key action Coca-Cola needs to monitor – ambush marketing activities. Enter Pepsi. The same day Coca-Cola launched “The World’s Cup” global campaign, Pepsi launched it’s first ever Global Campaign called “Live for Now”. Similar to Coke, Pepsi “conducted extensive global research, connecting with thousands of fans, and “Live for Now” reflects the insight that Pepsi fans all around the world desire to capture the excitement of now – a mind-set that is aligned at the very core with brand’s DNA.”
“Live for Now” is designed to invite and inspire Pepsi fans to live each moment to the fullest. The campaign is brought to life through pop-culture platforms including music and entertainment, digital innovation, epic events and unique partnerships including several high profile soccer players.
Brad Jakeman, president, Global Enjoyment Brands, PepsiCo stated ” the ‘Live for Now’ campaign is considerably more than a positioning statement or a single ad creative – it is the central governing idea for the brand globally.”
Over the next few months, watch for Pepsi to create a series of exclusive partnerships to bring the “Live for Now” campaign to life featuring some of the world’s leading artists and entertainment properties. Pop up concerts, interactive digital platforms will operate in real time curating exclusive content for the Pepsi target audience.
Pepsi has a long standing history with soccer and they are using the popularity and scale of the World Cup to bring awareness to this new “Live for Now” global campaign. Activities such as this are considered by many to be “ambush” marketing tactics. In Pepsi’s case, it’s a global platform using the popularity of soccer to bring the campaign to life.
To round out their sponsorship activation platform, Coca-Cola also needs to think like an ambusher and prepare to defend their sponsorship investment in this manner.
Who will win? We’ll find out in mid-July!
For over 21 years, The KMAC GROUP has worked with some of the world’s best-known companies to help them grow their sales. Using our experience in strategic sales, key account management, sales training, project management, consumer engagement, strategic partnerships and live retail event activations, we help companies like Procter & Gamble and General Mills increase sales performance.
Sources: CNN World, Advertising Age, The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsico
For the next 3 weeks, The KMAC GROUP will be tracking Olympic sponsor activations demonstrating sponsorship best practices that will help you achieve a positive return on your investment. Each week, we’ll be assessing the Olympic sponsorship practices of leading global and Canadian companies, tracking their activities at all touch points to see how they use sponsorship to drive sales and identify which practices work best.
Our fourth installment of this series highlights a sponsorship best practice that many brands either gracefully own or sink deep into a never-ending pit of quicksand.
Here is a recap of sponsorship best practices we’ve covered so far:
- Sponsorship Practice #1: Deliver a simple, clear message.
- Sponsorship Practice #2: Connect with your audience emotionally
- Sponsorship Practice #3: Take an integrated, holistic approach
- Sponsorship Practice #4: Market your core strategy through sport…
- Sponsorship Practice #5: Add value to existing ideas and platforms
- Sponsorship Practice #6: Engage your audience
- Sponsorship Practice #7: Get in the game, in real-time
- Sponsorship Practice #8: Innovative strategic partnerships
- Sponsorship Practice #9: Bring the Olympic Game experience to those who can’t attend the Games.
This week we are introducing:
Sponsorship Practice #10: Building a strong, proactive PR Program. Example Dealing with negative press and activists.
The Coca-Cola Company is the largest beverage company in the world and is represented by Coca-Cola Ltd. In Canada. They make a variety of nonalcoholic sparking beverages including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and alternatives such as Nestea, Minute Maid, Five Alive, Fruitopia, DASANI and Powerade.
It comes as no surprise that Coca-Cola Canada is taking part in this years Olympic Winter Games by sponsoring 3 Canadian Olympic Athletes; Patrick Chan, Steven Stamkos and Marianne St-Gelais. They have launched an #inspiredto marketing campaign where these athletes are fully integrated, and will be featured in both in-store and digital marketing campaigns, as well as Cinema and TV advertising. Canadians are encouraged to share their stories about how our Canadian Olympic athletes have inspired them on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #inspiredto. There will also be features of each story on Coca-Cola’s Olympic digital hub, along with an interactive map of Canada magnifying the reach of this campaign across the country.
“Coca-Cola Canada is proud to support these three exemplary athletes as they strive to achieve their dreams of going for the gold at the XXII Olympic Winter Games,” says Nicola Kettlitz, President, Coca-Cola Ltd. “The commitment and tenacity of these athletes serve as an inspiring reminder for all of us to get up and get moving every day.”
At retail the program has been activated through grocery, mass and drugstores across featuring a limited edition Coca-Cola Olympic Games collector can that includes the signature of each athlete over silhouette images of a hockey player, short track speed skater and figure skater.
Additionally, Coca-Cola has partnered with McDonald’s offering Canadians limited edition Sochi 2014 Coca-Cola® Collectors Pins with the purchase of an Olympic McNuggets Fan Pack meal.
However, there are other global macroenvironmental factors at play that Coca-Cola must address. Coca-Cola abroad has been under tremendous scrutiny for not taking a stand against Russian LGBT laws. The controversy regarding the Russian law restricting gay-rights activities has escalated online, and has forced Coca-Cola to shut down an interactive feature in one of their latest promotions where consumers were allowed to put messages on a Coke can to cheer on Olympic athletes. Since, Coca-Cola has issued an apology, recognizing that the promotion “generated an unintended outcome.”
“The digital version of the Share a Coke promotion did not properly limit the customization to individuals’ names,” a spokesman said. “As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices. Again we apologize for any offence this has caused.”
There have been numerous protests and online attacks in the U.S. against major corporate sponsors of the International Olympic Committee, but Coca-Cola continues to stay cool, calm and collected in its approach to handling the controversy.
Coca-Cola continues to maintain a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equity Index since its launch in 2006, where they were one of the first US companies to support the Employment Non-Discrimination act, which protects employees from discrimination due to sexual orientation.
Continuing to defend their sponsorship of the IOC and the Olympic Games, they have made a list of their own credentials in terms of LGBT inclusiveness. The list can be found below:
- “We have a long-standing HR policy protecting our employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.”
- “We have a Global Mutual Respect Policy that sets out our expectations for how employees should treat one another as well as anyone they interact with as a representative of the Company. The policy outlines our commitment to valuing diversity and inclusion and providing a workplace free of discrimination or harassment. You can read more about this at: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/global-mutual-respect-policy“
- “We have scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index every year since it was launched in 2006.”
- “We have had an LGBT Business Resource Group at the Company for 13 years that is funded and supported through the Chief Diversity Officer’s department.”
- “We were one of the first companies in the U.S. to publicly support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to protect employees from discrimination due to sexual orientation.”
- “We have provided financial support and significant Company presence to several LGBT events over the past several years, including numerous Pride festivals and parades across the country.”
- “Our Global Supplier Diversity team participates in outreach events such as the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Awards Dinner, the NGLCC Business and Leadership Conference, and the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Corporate Sponsors Reception.”
More recently, to show their commitment to diversity, Coca-Cola aired a Super Bowl ad called “America is Beautiful” featuring Americans of diverse ethnicities, religions, races and families. Coca Cola spokesman stated ‘it [was] a great example of the magic that makes our country so special, and a powerful message that spreads optimism, promotes inclusion and celebrates humanity – values that are core to Coca-Cola.”
The political and human rights issues surrounding the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games has and will continue to challenge companies to publicly show their pro-LGBT efforts. Coke, along with other corporate sponsors must find a balance between focusing on their bottom line while trying to be politically responsible. The lesson learned here is that there is an appropriate way of handing backlash and activists who attempt to sabotage sponsorship efforts. These brands need to be straight-forward, resist the urge to point fingers, and show the public that they are actively taking steps to resolve the situation.
— Coca-Cola Co. (IOC sponsor): “As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world. As an Olympic sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host. We support the core values of the Olympic Movement — excellence, friendship and respect — and are proud to continue our role in helping to make the Olympics a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world. We are engaging with the International Olympic Committee on this important matter. We believe a more positive impact can be made through continued involvement, rather than by sitting on the sidelines.”
As the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games progress, we’ll be watching and reporting any developments.
A Sponsorship Property’s Perspective – Brand Presence.
Sponsorships & Strategic Partnerships
For a period of 6 weeks starting January 21, 2014, The KMAC GROUP will be tracking Olympic sponsor activations demonstrating sponsorship best practices that will help you achieve a positive return on your investment. Each week, we’ll be assessing the Olympic sponsorship practices of leading global and Canadian companies, tracking their activities at all touch points to see how they use sponsorship to drive sales and identify which practices work best.
Our second posting in this series is taking a different approach, shining the spotlight on the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), identifying the steps they have taken to build their brand, land such lucrative and high-profile sponsorships and partnerships while outlining which best practices they’ve implemented to achieve success.
Last week, we introduced 4 Sponsorship Best Practices:
Sponsorship Practice #1: Deliver a Simple, Clear Message;
Sponsorship Practice #2: Connect with your audience emotionally;
Sponsorship Practice #3: Take an integrated, holistic approach;
Sponsorship Practice #4: Market your core strategy through Sport … It’s not just an Olympic campaign;
This week, we’re introducing 3 more best practices:
Sponsorship Practice #5. Innovative Sponsorship “Adding value to existing ideas and platforms” to make them better, more productive and efficient. Innovation is essential in defining the strategy to make big ideas valuable and viable to both the market and to the brand or company.
Sponsorship Practice #6: Engaging your audience. Be clear about how your brand will add value to the experience. Demonstrate this value through active audience engagement, not passive promotion.
Sponsorship Practice #7: Get in the game, in real-time. The London Olympics were known as the most social Olympic games to date. A flood of Twitter, Facebook and other digital activity streams supported the live TV experience. Marketing teams need to be ready to interact with, address, be present and engaged in the conversation as it’s happening in real time!
Canadian Olympic Committee Analysis:
To look ahead, we first must look into the past and recognize how far the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has come. Heading into the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games I was working with Official Canadian Team Outfitter “Champion”. There was very little momentum and interest in licensed Canadian Olympic product. Retailers were not interested in carrying the Official Team Gear product and the public was not emotionally connected to the Team or Games. Things began to change in 1998 when the NHL sent professionals to the 1998 Nagano Games. Roots raised the bar on how licensed team merchandise was designed and created a connection with the public allowing Canadians to “feel” like they were part of the Canadian Olympic Team. The COC (known as the COA back then) began a brand building process that today had vaulted them into a leading sport property. The COC is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sports excellence. They are responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic Movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic, Youth Olympic and Pan American games. (CNW: Canadian Olympic Committee Company Profile) They are committed to delivering the resources Canada’s elite athletes need to perform at their best.
(Official Champion Olympic Gear, 1996 Atlantic Olympic Games)
Fast forward to 2010 – Vancouver 2010 – ‘Own The Podium’ and the changing face of Olympic marketing in Canada.
What is ‘Own The Podium’?
- Own The Podium, launched in 2005, is a not-for-profit organization that prioritizes and determines investment strategies to national sport organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. This initiative assisted Canada and Canadian Athletes in their quest to be the top medal finisher at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
- It was also an online campaign that invited Canadians across the country to show their Olympic colours and support the Canadian Olympic team on its quest to ‘Own The Podium’ in Vancouver 2010.
- The purpose of this campaign was to give Canadians the opportunity to remember and celebrate the country’s past Olympians as well as financially support the Canadian team.
- The program’s focus was to provide additional resources, leadership, expertise and high performance sport programming and coaches to help them achieve podium success.
- Own The Podium helped Canada produce 14 gold medals!
London 2012 – ‘Give Your Everything’ – faced with the hangover of the 2010 Vancouver Games euphoria, the Canadian Olympic Committee was faced with a new challenge – how to rebrand itself and secure new sponsors and generate new revenue streams to replace those lost by 2010 sponsors such as General Motors Canada, Rona and Acer.
The result – ‘Give Your Everything’
What is ‘Give Your Everything’?
- ‘Give Your Everything’ was a 15-week, multi-platform national campaign of the Canadian Olympic Team, containing more than 800 Out of Home placements, print, radio, digital short documentaries and fifteen, 30 and 60 second digital TV spots.
- It not only won them their first Canadian Marketing Association award but also was deemed their most successful branding campaign to date.
- This campaign highlighted Olympic hopefuls and their coaches from 8 different sports, focusing on their inspirational efforts as they prepared to compete for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Sochi 2014 – ‘We Are Winter’
What is ‘We Are Winter’?
- ‘We Are Winter’ is their most integrated, digitally enabled and largest brand undertaking in COC history.
- A national advertising campaign based on more than 100 hours of video footage highlighting Canada’s natural scenery, including mini-documentaries featuring the likes of Kaillie Humphries, Mark McMorris and Mikael Kingsbury.
- The purpose of this campaign is to showcase the drive and determination athletes have as they train for the Olympic games and get to know the athletes more personally
- They officially on-boarded Twitter as their social media partner of the Canadian Olympic Team, and are actively translating these tweets to a true ‘conversation’ using the #WeAreWinter hashtag
- The $14 million campaign is the largest-ever for the COC, and more than double the budget of ‘Give Your Everything’.
- The COC is expected to have twice the media reach of anything the COC has ever done before, while raising the profile of Canadian athletes and the COC
How did the COC implement best practices?
Sponsorship Practice #5. Innovative Sponsorship “Adding value to existing ideas and platforms”
The Canadian Olympic committee recognized the massive amount of momentum from the Vancouver Games and decided to up the ante. To top their already wildly successful ‘Give Your Everything’ campaign that earned them sponsorship deals with high profile companies such as BMW Group Canada and Canadian Tire Corp, Ltd, they rebranded Olympic.ca to strengthen their digital presence as well as better highlight Canadian athletes and serve the needs of fans and the Canadian Olympic team as a whole. Simple idea, but made a world of difference. It’s not about maintenance, it’s about improving and constantly pushing forward by creating an emotional, engaging, valuable, desirable property that this group of esteemed companies wanted to be associated with.
Sponsorship Practice #6: Engaging your audience.
More often than not, when something changes in the marketplace, it usually captures someone’s attention, and in this case; it not only attracted supporters and fans, but also sponsorships and strategic partnerships. By sparking a new level of support and interest through their impactful and large scale marketing campaigns, it has elevated the COC brand, making them a desirable partner for leading companies and brands. Through these campaigns and constant brand refinement, they were able to engage potential stakeholders with their ability to be effective in what they do.
Sponsorship Practice #7: Get in the game, in real-time.
Taking another dimension to the next level, the COC amplified their digital presence with a new partnership with Twitter, naming them their Official Social Media Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team. This partnership provides a unique partnership where they can share brand campaign content with Twitter users across the country, as well as create ‘true’ real-time conversations using the #WeAreWinter hashtag. If we’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s the fact that we need to be present, engage our audience and interact with them in ‘real-time’.
The strategic branding effort made by the COC to increase their credibility and raise their brand presence appears to have already paid out substantial gains in winning corporate sponsors who will help further push the COC forward into the hearts and minds of Canadians, the Canadian Olympic Team and for the country.
For over 21 years, The KMAC GROUP has worked with some of the world’s best-known companies to help them grow their sales. Using our experience in strategic sales, key account management, sales training, project management, consumer engagement and live retail event activations, we help companies like Procter & Gamble and General Mills increase sales performance.
For the next 6 weeks, The KMAC GROUP will be tracking Olympic sponsor activations demonstrating sponsorship best practices that will help you achieve a positive return on your investment. Each week, we’ll be assessing the Olympic sponsorship practices of leading global and Canadian companies, tracking their activities at all touch points to see how they use sponsorship to drive sales and identify which practices work best.
What is Sponsorship?
- Sponsorship has become one of the fastest growing forms of the integrated marketing communications mix. A strategic sponsorship can broaden your competitive advantage providing access to strategic partnerships, unique properties and a wider audience. By financially supporting or providing products or services to support an event, activity, person or organization, a company can enhance credibility; increase brand awareness and recognition while generating new sales and forming new business partnerships.
A well planned and executed Sponsorship strategy allows a company, product or service to resonate with a target audience in a meaningful way that distinctly differentiates you from competitors and substantiates your ability to deliver a program externally to customers while driving incremental sales on your investment. All of this is done of course if you carefully choose strategic partnerships where two or more parties are benefiting from the arrangement. The end goal is to reach more of your target market profitability!
Sponsorship Best Practices
Drawing from our sponsorship marketing experiences of 10 Olympic Games and over 50 program activations, let’s start by identifying 4 key Olympic sponsorship best practices we’ve learned (there are many other best practices that we will be featuring over the next few weeks):
Sponsorship Practice #1: Deliver a simple, clear message.
Deliver a clear message that is communicated early, blending traditional, digital and social communication mediums while showcasing a variety of strategic partnerships using athletes and sport governing marks to authenticate the message.
Sponsorship Practice #2: Connect with your audience emotionally.
The core message should contain an emotional element that goes above and beyond communicating product features and benefits. This will help magnify the connectivity and impact on your audience.
Sponsorship Practice #3: Take an integrated, holistic approach.
Campaigns are holistic. This involves aligning the efforts of many functional divisions of the enterprise and bringing them to life through all communication channels. A consistent, clear, compelling company, brand or service message will help the audience better understand the message and take action. The message needs to be consistent across all functions of an entity as well as those of advertising, selling, PR, digital and direct marketing and promotion.
Sponsorship Practice #4: Not JUST an “Olympic” campaign.
Your campaign should not be an “Olympic” campaign only; rather it should be your core, strategic marketing campaign utilizing the global awareness of the Olympics to bring your core messages to life. The campaign should be conceived long before the Games begin, and live on long after the Games.
Levels of Sponsorship Investment for the Olympic Games
Many companies sponsor the Olympic Games because it works. A company can invest in an Olympic sponsorship in many different ways. For example:
TOP Sponsorship – IOC
- “TOP” is the abbreviation for “The Olympic Partner” programme. This programme is a global partnership managed by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), and is established for a duration of 4 years corresponding to the Olympic quadrennial period.
NOCOG or Games Sponsorship
- The Olympic Games are entrusted by several committees including the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the host country as well as the host city itself. The OCOG consists of the IOC member or members in the country, the President and Secretary General of the NOC and at least 1 member representing the host city.
NOC Sponsorship or Official Supplier Status
- A National Olympic Committee such as The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is responsible for all aspects of the country’s (Canada’s) involvement in the Olympic moment including Canada’s participation in the Olympic, Pan American and Youth Olympic Games.
National Sport Governing Body Sponsorship
- This level of sponsorship is not affiliated with the Olympic Games or Rings rather it is a sponsorship supporting a national sport governing body and team such as Skate Canada, Hockey Canada or Speed Skating Canada.
Individual Athlete Sponsorship
- Sponsorship and support of individual athletes
These are just a few of the ways a company can become involved in Olympic themed sponsorship.
Corporate Sponsor Analysis #1 – Canadian Tire Corporation
The first corporate sponsorship analysis in our series will feature Canadian Tire Corporation.
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (TSX:CTC.a) (TSX:CTC) is a Family of Companies that includes Canadian Tire Retail, PartSource, Gas+, FGL Sports (Sport Chek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, Pro Hockey Life, National Sports, S3 and Atmosphere), Mark’s, Canadian Tire Financial Services and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. Their primary retail business categories are: Automotive, Living, Fixing, Playing and Apparel. Founded in 1922, they remain one of Canada’s most recognized and trusted brands. Canadian Tire Retail, Sport Chek and Sports Experts are proud to be Premier National Partners of the Canadian Olympic Team. (Source: CNW – Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited Organization Profile).
Canadian Tire Corporation Best Practices
Sponsorship Practice #1: Deliver a simple, clear message.
To deliver a clear message and connect with their audience emotionally, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) used shopper insights to create ideas and incorporate an emotional element in their core strategy. CTC conducted a survey to find out why Canadian kids weren’t getting enough exercise and found that parents felt their kids were not interested in being active (Strategy Online, Aug 2013)*, and that a third of Canadian families could not afford to enroll their children in sports or recreational activities. (Jumpstart Canadian Tire, 2011).**
The core message was then developed to communicate to the country that if children do play, they can develop life skills that are important to becoming stronger individuals, which goes on to create stronger families and communities.
The result – Jumpstart is born! A national charitable program developed by Canadian Tire to help financially disadvantaged kids participate in organized sports and recreation, while helping them gain self-confidence and learn leadership skills. Subsequently, ‘We All Play For Canada‘ was launched in August 2013 to encourage play amongst Canadian kids.
#WeAllPlayForCanada – Canadian Tire Campaign
“We’ve essentially created a consortium of groups and organizations that are authoritative in sports, and we really wanted to try to make a mark on the nation in terms of our authority and the fact that we enable play in Canada,” said TJ FLOOD, senior vice-president of marketing for Canadian Tire in Toronto. “We see it as more than just a campaign – we see it as a rallying cry and a movement of marketing Canadian Tire wants to start to bring back play in Canada,” he added. We’re all about helping enable the jobs and joys of life in Canada, and we feel play plays a huge role in that.”
Sport Chek (Canada’s largest retailer of sports equipment, sporting goods, goods apparel and footwear) is a retail banner within CTC who emphasizes their passion for sports as a way of connecting and engaging with their shoppers and employees. They are essentially telling the same story with their ‘What it Takes‘ campaign which celebrates what it takes to become the best athletes in the world. This program was designed to inspire Canadian kids to not only get out there and play, but also work hard!
#WhatItTakes – Sport Chek Campaign
Sponsorship Practice #2: Connect with your audience emotionally.
CTC has created ongoing interactions with their audiences that play out over time providing the audience an opportunity to co-create the experience and allowing the audience to create content they want to share with others while contributing to the brand story that has already been developed. A great example of this is their WeAllPlayForCanada.ca microsite where Canadians get the chance to upload their own photos, videos, and tips related to play to be featured in a ‘ticker’ to spotlight these kids. They also intend on promoting Canadian athletes year-round in their marketing and advertising efforts across all of its retail banners and marketing channels including Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Mark’s.
Sponsorship Practice #3: Take an integrated, holistic approach.
Sometimes aligning many functional divisions of an enterprise through different communication channels can get a little messy, however, if you focus on communicating your core message with a team that can seamlessly execute, it’s definitely worth your while. Not only has Canadian Tire reached out to some of Canada’s best high performance athletes such as Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby, they have consummated many partnerships including one with MLSE, NHL and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) that are activated with dealer owners internally and with shoppers externally. Also expanding on their grassroots efforts, they are currently developing a “Learn To” series program which is aimed to give more children in need the opportunity to learn and participate in sports at an early age.
Sport Chek and Sports Experts (also a banner within the CTC) are implementing a similar program called “Skills Development”, which will build on core skills as they compete in hockey, soccer, skiing and snowboarding. Through community driven programs, social media, retail and charity initiatives as well as professional athletes, CTC is continuing to demonstrate their commitment to sports and the development of Canadian athletes. (For a list of CTC sponsorship & community programs and digital media initiatives, please refer to the appendix below.***)
Sponsorship Practice #4: Not JUST an “Olympic” campaign.
Last but not least, CTC is utilizing the Olympic sponsorship property as a platform to engage their target market and further communicate their core corporate brand strategy. The global awareness of the Games helps bring their key messages to life, where they can continue to demonstrate the Power of Sport in everyday life and inspire Canadians through their partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee. The company banners consisting of Canadian Tire Retail, Sport Chek and Sports Experts have united their efforts in developing an Olympic-themed idea around their existing sports marketing campaigns, each having their own customized execution. In addition, CTC is involved in 6 amateur sport sponsorships including the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the Canadian Soccer Association, Skate Canada, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada and Canada Snowboard. Establishing these new partnerships continue to build on top of their already solid foundation of existing partnerships, all stemming from their company values, which is improving lives by enriching family life and building stronger communities across Canada.
Canadian Tire Corporation has carefully and meticulously laid the groundwork for what could be their most successful campaign yet. These best practices are vital to their testament in showing the world how powerful they are in the retail industry. They have holistically implemented a strategy that is clear and emotionally charged, which was amplified through the sponsorship of the Olympic Games. This has helped their strategy resonate further with their audience and rallied thousands of Canadians to their cause. This is what sets CTC apart from other retailers; they are really allowing their core values to shine through at every level. Canadian Tire Corporation continues to focus on growth to drive business forward by strengthening their core retail business and continuing to create new growth platforms. Last year their revenue increased by 10% to C$11.8 billion dollars (CTC Annual Report, 2012), and is expected to continue to increase throughout their five-year financial strategy as they heavily invest in their retail leadership.
The KMAC GROUP
For over 21 years, The KMAC GROUP has worked with some of the world’s best-known companies to help them grow their sales. Using our experience in strategic sales, key account management, project management and live retail event activations, we help companies like Procter & Gamble and General Mills increase sales performance.
*** CTC Sponsorship & Community Programs / Digital Media
- WE ALL PLAY FOR CANADA (MICROSITE )
- JUMPSTART (SPORTS CHARITY)
- OLYMPIC.CA (NEW GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT)
- TWITTER (#WEALLPLAY)
- FACEBOOK (WE ALL PLAY FOR CANADA)
Local, provincial and national sponsorships:
- Canadian Tire Hockey School (CTHS)
- NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCATS)
- Canadian Tire supports many local community sponsorships, for sponsorships at a local level, we encourage you to speak with your local Canadian Tire Dealer for consideration of your project or event
Community Sports Programs
- Mothers Day Run & Walk
- Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
- Sidney Crosby
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Calgary Flames
- Brett Lawrie
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Toronto FC
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- Hockey Canada
- Alpine Canada
- Canada Soccer
- Alberta Alpine
- Canada Snowboard
The Canadian Olympic Committee has been making gigantic strides since 2010, and continues to leap forward by attracting some of the biggest brands in Canada. On the heels of announcing a four-year partnership with BMW GROUP CANADA last Friday, January 18/13, the COC then announced earlier this week an eight-year partnership with Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd (one of the largest sports partnerships ever undertaken in the country).
SO, WHAT’S UP?
In 2012, the Canadian Olympic Committee secured its first ever Canadian Marketing Association award for its “Give Your Everything” campaign, by far its most successful branding campaign to date. It included more than 100 Canadian Olympians and their coaches, featuring their hard work and dedication leading up to the London 2012 Games. Not only was this the largest and most integrated campaign the COC has ever implemented, it also sparked a new level of support and interest for Canadian athletes. This program has clearly elevated the COC brand making it a desirable partner for leading companies and brands.
There is no doubt that these partnerships with the COC will catapult these brands into a new limelight, one of excellence, performance, national pride and a deeper tie to sports. The sense of community and support across Canada has flourished and it’s incredible to see Canadian corporations and athletes so receptive.
BMW GROUP CANADA
BMW Group Canada officially joined the roster as the official luxury automotive partner of the Canadian Olympic Team for Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.
“The BMW Group, a company focused on performance and innovation, is the perfect partner for the Canadian Olympic Team, whose athletes strive for peak performance in every competition,” said Eduardo Villaverde, president and CEO, BMW Group Canada. “Our two organizations share many of the same beliefs and values, and we believe working together will bring tremendous benefits to both of our teams. Over the next four years, we look forward to creating innovative programs that provide substantial financial support to Canadian athletes. Our retailers look forward to this as well; they will be a major force in our overall contributions and programming. At the same time, we know that our associates and customers will be mightily engaged in this partnership, as well.”
“The COC is delighted to welcome this amazing corporation as an official National Partner of the Canadian Olympic team and look forward to driving together towards an even more exciting future for our Canadian athletes,” says Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Partnering with BMW Group Canada is a perfect fit, as they stand for excellence and high performance. With any athlete, they aspire to achieve the same goals in the sport and in life.
Canadian Tire, evolving their competitive strategy, moved into a position where they could play a major role in helping Canadian families and amateur athletes succeed. This long-term investment has proven their commitment to spurring on Canada’s champions, as they have been giving Canadian athletes their start in sports for over 90 years. The eight-year partnership with Canada’s Olympic Team and commitment to Amateur Sport in Canada is the largest ever.
The deals consummated include new and expanded partnerships with the Canadian Soccer Association, Skate Canada, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada Alpin, Canada Snowboard and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Canadian Tire’s Sponsorship activation is reported to include an expansive new grassroots “Learn to” series by Canadian Tire and “Skills Development” series by Sport Chek and Sports Experts. These programs are designed to significantly grow participation and competition in skating, hockey, soccer, skiing and snowboarding.
Additionally, a new national employment program will benefit elite Canadian athletes with flexible work schedules to support training.
Lastly, Canadian Tire’s goal is to inspire Canadians by promoting Canadian athletes year-round in marketing and advertising across Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Mark’s.
All aspects of the deal are designed to inspire Canadians and encourage lifelong healthy and active living through the ‘power of sport’. Canadian Tire and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities also plan to work with Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Foundation to help more kids get in the game. The Canadian Tire Family of Companies will also be announcing new athlete sponsorship agreements in 2013, supporting Canada’s best and brightest up and coming talent.
Sochi 2014 is not too far off. It’s been three years since Vancouver 2010 and I’m looking to see some gold medal podium marketing from these esteemed partners.
To view the official release of the BMW and COC partnership announcement, please click here.
To view the Canadian Tire and COC partnership video, please click here.
To see the eight “Give Your Everything” digital shorts, and other content, please visit: www.olympic.ca/videos.
On Tuesday November 13th 2012, The KMAC GROUP officially announced that they have refreshed their brand and are excited for what lies ahead in the New Year.
What makes The KMAC GROUP so unique is their ability to take ideas and bring them to life. After twenty-one years in the game, they truly understand what works and what doesn’t. Their expertise and creativity continues to drive their success and appetite for innovation.
To read the official release, please click here.
The looming lockout casts a dark shadow over the NHL. The uncertain future of the 2012/2013 season affects everyone associated with the league: from players to owners, franchisers to sponsors, arena employees to fans. The lockout, which will be determined by midnight on Saturday night, could be the league’s fourth work stoppage since 1992. This “trend” is evident in other associations such as NFL, MBA, and even NBA and negatively impacts professional sports as a whole.
Why Will There Be A Lockout?
The prospect of a lockout has been looming for quite some time, as owners and players negotiate a new revenue split. Historically, the NHL has a large revenue gap between teams – some teams consistently lose money, few break even, and a handful of teams actually make profit. To assist in minimizing the revenue gap, the NHL has put into place “the player’s share”, a salary cap and floor to ensure that players receive a consistent percentage of NHL revenue. The player’s share began 2005 at 54% and climbed over the past 5 years to 57% in 2010. Owners are now asking players to cut their share of revenue from 57% to 43% (eventually modifying it to 46% later into negotiations). In a $3.3 billion industry, 46% isn’t a small amount. However, the players believe that their share should be higher, based on other league’s player shares. As it currently stands, the negotiations will more than likely end in a lockout.
Who Will be Affected By A Lockout?
The lockout will deeply impact the players and teams as they will be losing income until they can come to an agreement. Less obviously affected by the lockout will be Hockey-associated venues. Arenas, local restaurants and bars, NHL franchise stores, hockey broadcasters and more will take a huge revenue hit. In order to absorb the profit loss, these enterprises will be forced to cut costs, which could mean future job cuts. Dustin Costain, a bartender at the Loose Moose on Front Street, comments, “We really rely on sports around here. Without that, we’ll have to rely on concerts and random other stuff,” he said, adding the loss of business will deplete his personal income via tips. Another massively affected industry will be the NHL sponsors. These companies will not only suffer potential-income loss, but negative press. The NHL lockout is a highly negative event and being associated with such looks poorly on everyone involved.
The biggest impact may be irreparable damage to the game of hockey itself north and south of the border. The NHL has grown revenues to an estimated $3+ billion over the past seven years during turbulent global economic times. Core fans will remain true to game however the peripheral fans the NHL has coveted will likely find alternative entertainment options for how they spend their time and dollars.
Looking at the Bright Side
Even though the potential NHL lockout has multiple negative consequences, there is also a silver lining. With no NHL hockey games to attend, fans will want an alternative. OHL games will gain high TV views and ticket sales, thriving on their season monopoly in hockey. This increase in popularity will give sponsors a second chance to strike gold with hockey-related promotions. Other sports and arts and entertainment options may also be able to capitalize on the lockout as well. Sponsors may find new ways to invest their dollars to fill the void however, the NHL must be cognizant this if sponsors re-invest their dollars elsewhere … and those investments work, they may lose these investments for ever.
Why has the NHL Been Successful in the Past?
1. The NHL has created BIG EVENTS that reach beyond local coverage.
Previously, “all our marketing assets, all our communication assets, were inside our games,” stated John Collins COO of the NHL. “They were inside our arena, inside regional and national telecasts. We had no ability to break out beyond that and capture that casual, much broader sports fan environment.” In order to build excitement, the game needed to build at a national scale, to feed off events that were larger than the average NHL game. The genesis of the BIG EVENT branding campaign was born —seasons now begin with Face-Off, a live festival, followed by the Winter Classic which moves a game from the regular season schedule to an event where the game is played at a large venue such as a football or baseball stadium, where tickets are sold in venues that hold upwards of triple the capacity of hockey arenas and the game is played outdoors to remind fans of its heritage as an outdoor sport played by anyone with a pond or frozen lake, a few sticks, and something to slap around. The first Winter Classic was held in 2008 in front of a sell-out crowd of 71,217 and is now viewed by in excess of 4.5 million viewers.
2. The NHL has made hockey and its players more accessible.
Sports are built on storylines and stories need characters. The NHL is putting more players in front of the camera both in commercials and by making them more identifiable during games. The new NHL advertisement and the deal signed with HBO’s 24/7, a documentary series that follows athletes preparing for a big game, has allowed fans to go behind the curtain.
3. The NHL has made hockey more advertiser-friendly.
Sponsorship and broadcast revenue have increase significantly because the NHL has demonstrated that it could reach fans in a more strategic way.
4. The NHL has expanded Hockey’s Reach
In addition to CBC and TSN, NBC is now covering and promoting hockey within its other sports coverage, accomplishing what the NHL had long sought–a way to put its action in front of all sports fans.
The NHL’s rising profile has been positive BUT a lockout could seriously put these accomplishments in jeopardy and affect the growth of the game for the next 5-7 years.
The world’s best Paralympians are in final preparation and ready to take the stage for The London 2012 Paralympic Games (scheduled August 29 – Sept 9, 2012) as the Paralympic Movement returns to the country of its “spiritual” birthplace. They will be the biggest Paralympic Games ever featuring 4,280 athletes from 166 countries who will compete in 20 sports.
- 2.2m – Number of tickets sold
- 2.4m – Number of tickets available
- 4,280 – Number of Paralympic athletes competing
- 20 – Number of sports in Paralympic Games
The London 2012 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ (LOCOG) vision is that rather than making them different from previous Paralympics, they want to take the best aspects of previous Games and bring them together.
On September 9, 2010 tickets for the Paralympic Games went on sale. In the three-week ticket window more than 1 million tickets were sold, a record for the Paralympic Games, with a number of sports already sold-out. The day before tickets went on sale London’s Trafalgar Square staged International Paralympic Day. More than 100 British and international athletes attended the 12 hour spectacular which involved demonstrations in 10 Paralympic sports.
London 2012 has also secured the biggest commercial deal ever for a Paralympic Games with UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. The company boasts 21.5 million customers each week all of whom will be exposed to London 2012 Paralympic branding in the lead-up to, and during, the Games.
The Paralympic Games are a great opportunity for TOP sponsors to extend their Olympic themed marketing efforts and for newcomers to get in on the action as well. The Games will be broadcast via Channel 4 which has divided it’s advertising slots into mixed packages of eight-10 spots, both at peak and non-peak times. With such a large anticipated viewership, advertising at the Paralympic Games is a must for Olympic sponsors and a great opportunity to get a step ahead of the competition for Olympic newcomers.
Most existing IOC sponsors will be re-using their Olympic marketing campaigns for the 2012 Paralympic Games, using it as a transition to post-Games time. These companies often face the difficulty of building anticipation for a different campaign in the short two week span between the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Instead, they feel their campaigns should maintain a sense of continuity from the Olympics, simply changing the focus to a Paralympic profile. For example, Adidas will be re-using their Olympic star banner, slightly tweaked by featuring Paralympic athlete, Ellie Simmonds.
Canadian Paralympic Team Sponsors include Pfizer, Petro-Canada, Air Canada, Bell, Chevrolet, Hudson’s Bay Company, RBC and Rona.
Of note, Oscar Pistorius, the blade runner will be the first athlete to complete in an able bodied and disabled Games. His accomplishments continue to expand the reach and interest of the Paralympic Games.
Oscar Pistorius left the London 2012 Olympic Games with no medal, but nevertheless as a champion in the eyes of the world. Running on two carbon fibre “blades,” Pistorius raced in the men’s 400 metre event, advancing to the semi-finals. As the heat ended, eventual gold medal winner, Kirani James asked to trade name bibs, out of respect for what Pistorius had accomplished. Now, Pistorius will face a new field of competitors on the same field of play.