AT&T Win Official Race With Sprint
Official Olympic sponsors of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games were forced to compete against ambush market competitors in a bullfight of marketing strategies. Advertisers with the strongest television presence during the Olympic Summer Games were the ones who were remembered among a stampede of sponsors, according to a study by Performance Research of 1,000 Olympic fans nationwide interviewed before and after the Games.
When asked to recall official Olympic sponsors, 42% of the post television audience recalled Coca-Cola, while pre-event testing revealed 28% of those respondents intending to watch Olympic coverage noted Coca-Cola’s involvement. Also, receiving impressive returns were athletic shoe rivals Reebok, jumping from 9% to 32% and U.S. Track and Field sponsor Nike, improving from 13% to 25%. Visa’s level took a slight decline in unaided recall from 8% to 1% and the U.S. Postal Service delivered similar returns (5% to 1%).
When asked to recall advertisements and promotions during the Olympic broadcast, Coca-Cola didn’t loose its fizzle from pre-testing (20%) to post-testing (32%). Keeping up the pace, Reebok promotions were recalled by 13% of the pre-test respondents and by 15% among the post-test audience. Advertiser recognition diminished slightly from pre to post testing for McDonald’s (18%/12%), Nike (15%/11%), and M&M/Mars (8%/4%).
American Express charged toward Visa’s official status (46%/55%) with over one-fifth (21%) of the pre-wave respondents, and more than one-third (33%) of post-wave respondents mistakenly crediting American Express as the Official Olympic credit card. With its barrage of television commercials featuring Magic Johnson, Pepsi was successful in convincing 15% of the pre-wave audience and 8% of the post-wave audience that Pepsi had Official Olympic status. Both MCI and Sprint made an impact on viewers’ perceptions of the telecommunication companies most associated with the Olympics. MCI rung in with 12% pre-test and 23% post-test audience, while Sprint collected 9% pre-test and 12% post-test respondents. However, AT&T had a stronghold on the position and collected almost two-thirds (63%) of the pre-wave and more than one-half (52%) of the post wave recognition as Official Olympic sponsor.
Post-wave respondents were asked to name which 1992 Summer Olympic athletes they would trust most as product endorser. One-fifth (20%) of all respondents named Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson followed with 14%, Shannon Miller (5%), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (4%), and Carl Lewis (3%) rounded out the top five mentions. When asked who they would trust the least, Charles Barkely bounced to the top of the list, mentioned by 10% of the Olympic Viewers.
Respondents were asked to rate specific attributes of NBC’s Olympic coverage. The “Individual athlete profiles” were rated the highest with a 7.1 average. “Olympic host Bob Costas” and the “Variety of sports covered” both averaged 7.0. The average score for “Individual sport commentators”, was 6.6, followed by “Reporting of controversial issues” (6.2). The lowest rated NBC attribute was “Commercial breaks” (4.4).
When respondents were asked about the commercialization of the Olympics, the majority (59%) confirmed that the Olympics are “Over-commercialized”. However, three-fourths (75%) of pre and post-wave respondents agreed that they are “more likely” to purchase a product which sponsors or financially supports the Olympics over a product that does not. Similarly, the belief existed that the purchase of an official Olympic product results in direct support of the Olympic teams — a notion held by (70%) of all respondents.
Performance Research collected data for this study via telephone in two different ways — 500 interviews before, and 500 interviews after the Games. The initial wave was completed during the week of July 20, 1992 (preceding the games), and the final wave was completed during the week of August 10, 1992, after the conclusion of the Summer Games. The margin of error is less than one percent.
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