Past Olympic Games have attracted billions of viewers and are an advertising manager’s dream. But are the sponsorship ‘partners’ any good? I decided to take a wholly unscientific look to find out.
There are many Olympic Games sponsors, ranging from BMW to Lloyds TSB. And though we might not have much to say about Adidas or BP here at Which?, we have reviewed products from many of them.
So let’s have a look down the list of Olympic sponsors to see how they perform.
British Airways: BA is a Which? recommended provider for credit cards, but it doesn’t do quite as well in its core market. As a long-haul airline, BA scored a Which? member rating of just 57%, which is mid-table and far behind the 89% reached by Singapore Airlines.
Medal hopes: A lap behind the high-flyers.
EDF Energy: In our customer satisfaction survey, energy provider EDF scored just two out of five stars for value for money. Its overall score of 43% is around half that of the best-performing provider.
Medal hopes: Lacklustre performance.
Samsung vs Panasonic: This is the race to watch. Both of these manufacturers have a range of TVs in our Best Buy tables, as well as high-scoring products in other tech areas. Panasonic was a hit in our 2011 Which? member satisfaction survey, coming top for most tech product categories (from TVs to digital cameras).
However, Samsung won two Which? Awards last year for Best Home Audio-Visual Brand and Best Portable Media Brand.
Medal hopes: Both are clear gold-medallists, but Samsung tops the overall medal table.
Acer: Acer has five Best Buy laptops and a high-scoring netbook in our tests. It doesn’t do so well with its desktop models though, and its tablets are so-so.
Medal hopes: Possible gold in individual races, but won’t get off the blocks in others.
BMW: BMW is the highest-rated German brand for sales and service with Which? members, but its overall brand satisfaction score puts it mid-table.
Medal hopes: Possible bronze, depending on track conditions. Could perform better in the 2014 European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
BT: BT scores less than half marks in both its home phone and broadband Which? rating, leaving it towards the back of the pack.
Medal hopes: Struggling to get off the blocks.
Lloyds TSB: Lloyds TSB offers the best-value bank account if you’re always in credit, but it’s below average for customer satisfaction. Credit cards from Lloyds-owned brands Halifax and Bank of Scotland appear regularly in our Best Rate tables, but all Lloyds brands score poorly for customer service for credit cards, savings and mortgages.
Medal hopes: Not a crowd pleaser, but could do well in individual races. Likely to drop the baton in a brand-wide relay race.
Why do companies pay to sponsor the Olympics?
From the advertisers’ side it’s easy to see why companies sponsor the Olympics. Visa, for example, is the only card payment method accepted, so as well as gaining valuable advertising exposure, it will make direct profits from more people using its cards.
Manufacturers like Panasonic and Samsung will enjoy an uplift in sales to those watching the Olympics at home on TV, while Adidas has an obvious link to the biggest sporting event in the world. Sponsors will also benefit from the ‘halo effect’ of being associated with the Games.
But we all need to be cynical: if Which? testing and member reviews tell us that a particular company offers poor products and services, sponsoring the Olympics isn’t going to fix that.
Will Olympics advertising make you more likely to buy a particular brand? And do you think I’ve misjudged a particular sponsor’s chances in the race to the podium?