Beijing Olympics Opens Up Potentially Lucrative Trade Opportunities

A BOCOG-approved sponsor is given the right to use the Olympic name and logo when promoting their products within China, an honor which they pay dearly for, but is considered to be worth the cost – and for good reason. Results from a recent market research project involving 2,000 citizens of China indicate that than more than two-thirds of the project’s respondents believe that the Olympic symbol on a product is a “stamp of approval” with regard to the product’s quality. Furthermore, many would choose that particular product over a competitive, and possibly even cheaper, product based on the Olympic symbol.

The survey also revealed that Coca-Cola is the brand most readily associated with the Olympic Games. This came as no surprise to market researchers, as Coca-Cola has been a high profile Olympic sponsor since 1928 and has a contract with the International Olympic Committee through to 2020. In additional to extensive billboard advertising and television commercials to be run strictly in China, Coca-Cola will be broadcasting Olympic-related commercials globally, one of which features Beijing’s distinctive Bird’s Nest Stadium and the other featuring NBA basketball stars LeBron James and Yao Ming.

Sporting apparel giant, Adidas, reportedly paid around $80 million for the right to be a BOCOG-approved sponsor. No doubt in anticipation of a positive spin-off from the Olympics, Adidas opened its largest store ever in Beijing this month. Add to this the undisclosed tens of millions that are likely to be spent in marketing, advertising, travel and accommodation for staff and it is clear that Adidas have confidence in the persuasive powers of an Olympic event.

BOCOG-approved sponsors have a distinct advantage over other suppliers in a number of ways. One example being that about a month ago the government of China began giving sponsors preference with regard to advertising space in high traffic and high profile areas, such as at the Beijing airport, on television stations, and the city’s extensive subway lines. Adidas competitor, Nike, will no doubt have a presence at the Olympics through its sponsorship of clothing to various teams, but will have a hard time gaining access to billboard advertising and other forms of marketing that would suggest they have an official standing with the Olympics.

With more that 17 million people living in Beijing alone, and around 1.3 billion people living in China, the largely untapped market presents huge opportunities for overseas companies aiming to gain a foothold in the country – and the 2008 Beijing Olympics looks set to be the springboard they need.