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August 26, 2008

Guerilla Brand Naming Promotion The Real Winner at 2008 Olympics?

070808_olympics.pngThis year's Olympics was a competition between the Chinese and a few non-invited competitors who managed to steal the show a few times. I'm of course talking about the brutal brand naming competition that went on while the athletes did their thing.

This year we saw multi-national brand names face stiff competition from Chinese brand names nobody had heard of. The overall winner, according to the Huffington Post, was Coke and its "shuang qi lai - "refreshment rising" tagline. However, Adidas and its "Impossible Is Nothing" campaign was a also a success, while GE managed to communicate its new "green" image with some flair.

The point is that China wanted to use the Olympics to showcase the country along with the country's brand names. China has what is called "high product acceptance with low global brand recognition." However, the Huffington Post notes that some Chinese companies really did stand out during this year's Olympics: Lenovo moved into the premier brand space, as did "non-official" brand names, such as China' s Merchant bank which just happens to have the same tagline (he, or "harmony" ) as the theme of the opening ceremony.

Various athletric gear brand names also had their day in the sun: like Nike (whom we all know) and Li Ning and Anta (whom we do not). Li Ning is the name of the fellow who lit the torch during the opening ceremony, but is also conveniently the brand name of an athletic apparel company.

Guerilla brand name promotion was at an all time high this year. Case in point was Nike's capitalization on hurdler Liu Xiang's heartbreaking defeat. Nike quickly ran an ad that said "Love sport even when it breaks your heart."

phelpsfacebook.png Kinesio got some attention (they make the athletic tape that beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh uses), as did Facebook (who owes Phelps a thank you for mentioning how many friends he has).

Tim Delaney reckons that the average sponsorship costs around $100 million all included and that regular sponsorship still cannot be beat in developing markets, but in mature markets, where wise guys like Wasatch Beer can dub themselves "Unofficial Beer of the 2002 Winter Games" you may want to think twice before paying to be the official sponsor.

This might explain why 60% of Chinese people polled thought that Pepsi, not Coke (who paid $78 million for the privilege), was the official Olympic drink.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 26, 2008 8:55 AM
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