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P & G Sponsors U.S. Olympic Team

Tue, 09/01/2009 - 4:18am

DAN SEWELL AP Business Writer - September 1, 2009

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Procter & Gamble Co., the world's largest advertiser, has signed on to be a major sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Teams for the upcoming winter and summer games.

The deal announced Tuesday comes a month after the maker of Tide and many other consumer products agreed to a major NFL sponsorship. It's also a big boost to the U.S. Olympic Committee's efforts to attract sponsors in a recession.

Financial details weren't released, but such deals with companies of this size are usually worth at least $15 million. Cincinnati-based P&G will be a corporate partner and sponsor for the U.S. teams in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and and London 2012 Summer Games.

The Olympics tie-in involves 17 P&G brands, from Olay skin care to Pantene shampoo to Pringles snacks.

"It's a very significant announcement for us," said Lisa Baird, USOC's chief marketing officer. "It goes to the depth of marketing that a company like Procter & Gamble can bring to our athletes and the Olympic movement."

The USOC recently lost General Motors and The Home Depot as sponsors and is trying to renew deals with Bank of America and AT&T. The federation had previously signed smaller deals with Ralph Lauren, Acer, Adecco and Deloitte.

Baird said more sponsorships are in the works and that the addition of P&G could help attract others.

"Obviously, Procter & Gamble is a leading marketer, and other companies look to them," she said.

The deal includes individual athlete partnerships; digital, print and television advertising, and Team USA-logo merchandising.

P&G brands have had had smaller Olympic sponsorships before, including of U.S. gymnasts in the Beijing Summer Games in 2008, but P&G officials said this will be their most extensive Olympics involvement.

Kirk Perry, P&G's vice president for North America, said the company was attracted by the Olympics' strong appeal for women, teens, 18-to-34-year-olds and other key demographic groups.

"We always talk about meeting our consumers where they are, and this is certainly where they are," Perry said.

Four P&G brands, including Gillette shavers, are "official products" of NFL locker rooms, and eight others can carry the NFL logo in retail marketing under a multiyear contract that begins this football season.

P&G has gotten more deeply into sports sponsorships since acquiring longtime Major League Baseball sponsor Gillette in 2005. Gillette features stars Tiger Woods of golf, Roger Federer of tennis and Derek Jeter of baseball, among other athletes, in current promotions.

P&G spends some $8 billion a year on advertising.

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