Sponsors of the Olympics have come together to support athletes of the Games in response to the postponement of Tokyo 2020.
Four major brands – Airbnb, P&G, Toyota, and Intel, have created bespoke athlete-focused programmes before the launch of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) marketing campaign ‘Stronger Together’.
As the four worldwide brands are among ten other sponsors who form The Olympic Partner (TOP) Programme, Airbnb, the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) launched a five-day festival of Olympian and Paralympian online experiences with the proceeds going towards athletes. Aimed to bring together athletes and fans, activities are hosted by the athletes who are rewarded with an income who are currently in pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic goals.
In addition, last month, Intel revealed they would extend their life-coaching, mentoring, and learning and development services to a group of athletes who were to participate in the Tokyo Games. Intel currently offer these services to their employees but have teamed up with the IOC’s Athlete365 platform where athletes will be able to access the resources.
Following those developments, P&G have announced their sponsorship extension revealing their ‘Athletes for Good Fund’. A partnership between P&G, the IOC and IPC, which will offer 52 grants next year to causes supported by Olympic and Paralympic athletes through Athlete365.
P&G also secured global marketing rights to the IPC and Paralympic Games. The extension of the deal consists of P&G’s continued support of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the Winter Games in Beijing 2022 and Milano Cortina 2026, in addition to the Summer Games in Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.
Considering the economic and competition difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, the response by firms associated with the Games can be suggested to be prevalent at a time of such despair.
Vice-President of marketing development at the IOC, Christian Voigt has said, “Athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement and at the core of our Olympic Agenda 2020 and so we very much welcome the support of our Top Partners.
“In the case of Airbnb, it was part of our planning to have the Olympian experiences business as one of the pillars of the partnership, but we have pivoted from the live experience that we could have had before Covid into an online experience.
“It’s a three-part collaboration where we are working together to make something happen that neither one of us could do alone. We have supply relations to athletes, and Airbnb have demand from tens of millions of young people who like to book experiences.
“In the case of Intel, the programme was accelerated through Covid-19 but was something that Intel was inspired to do for a while. It stems from an employee engagement programme where they have athletes come to work for them; they realised there was a bigger opportunity and wanted to work with to all Olympians. In this context, Intel said they were happy not only to support their own athlete employees but can share in how the coaching and mentoring and career transition can work.”
He adds: “It was an idea from P&G that we embraced and want to support in our partnership. It’s meant to be a force for good. P&G really do have these core values at the heart of their company and share our purpose to create a better world through sport, so this isn’t an activation per se. It is, of course, something you can communicate, but it is very specific to this situation and to help athletes.”
Used to directly contact athletes, Athlete365 has been influential to the success of the programmes which enables the IOC to support athletes through the current uncertainty and rescheduling of the Games. Developed before the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, sponsors are currently interested in working closely with the platform after further investment.
Christian Voigt continues to say, “Initially, there was no sponsor thinking whatsoever, but we are now seeing that more partners want to get involved in helping directly, and offering their support in areas where the IOC has been working for a number of years, for example in career services and the transition from sport into other jobs.”
The Olympic Channel has also been pivotal to sponsors support of athletes. Recently, Toyota exclusively produced ‘What Moves Me Presented by Toyota’, a digital series involving Toyota athletes sharing their experiences of overcoming obstacles in their career and ways to cope with uncertainty, giving fascinating insight into their strategies.
The stories shared comply with the IOC’s ‘Stronger Together’ marketing campaign aimed to target all athletes, as a collective, part of their marketing strategy. Connecting athletes digitally, the digital engagement and marketing department will present stories of Olympians who have participated in the Games, giving an insight into their preparation and journey before their triumphs.
P&G and Visa have also announced their commitment of support to their athletes by extending their current ambassador partnerships. These will continue until the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Games rescheduled to take place next year.
Author: James Parker