Corporate sponsors of the Tokyo Olympics have brought in marketing consultants to determine if a direct association with the Games would damage their brands.
According to people working directly with some of the Games ’47 major sponsors, Japanese companies have asked advisors if they should embrace the Olympic image. The alternative is to proceed with a minimum reference to an event that generated more than $ 3bn in sponsorship after polls suggested that more than half of the Japanese public thinks the Games should be called out.
Councilors, whom people close to several sponsors say include Kantar, Macromill and Intage, were brought in as companies approached the six-week mark for the opening ceremony.
That brand, said an advertising leader involved in preparations for the Games, represented a “point of no return” beyond which companies would incur a cost for the cancellation of advertising campaigns.
A person close to the Japan Advertisers Association, which has 272 member companies, acknowledged that Olympic sponsors found it difficult to reap the marketing benefits they had initially anticipated.
“Companies had hoped to raise their brand value by sponsoring a major global sporting event, but it has become difficult to actively promote the fact that they sponsor the Tokyo Olympics,” the person added.
A person working as a consultant to one of the 14 world sponsors said that because of the decision on it whether or not to embrace the Olympics it was so finely balanced, some companies had developed two campaigns and had decided to use it at the last minute.
“They are waiting to see if opposition to the Games starts to fall, because if they don’t, they are worried that these Games could damage their brands,” said an advertising executive working with an Olympic sponsor.
“Meanwhile, most of the campaigns are going to full swing when you expect them to be furious.”
Among the sponsors of the gold partners, Asics sportswear company and group cheeses and soft drinks Meiji Holdings They recently published television commercials with athletes expected to compete at the Olympics.
In the case of the Asics ad, the Olympic rings appeared only at an angle at the end of the ad.
Meiji said he was investigating the impact of Olympic sponsorship on his brand, but that his existing ads were not based on the results of this research.
Another sponsor, who refused to be nominated, said he had yet to decide to publish Olympic-themed advertisements, but that he was closely following public opinion.
Asics did not respond to a request for comment.
At least one sponsor who produces consumer goods was warned that there was little benefit from any campaign that tried to play out much to the Olympic associations.
A veteran advertising industry executive involved with several sponsoring companies said the two main considerations would be the decision. if spectators will be allowed, which is scheduled for June 24, and a private vote at the level of public opposition to the Games.
As Japan’s vaccination program picked up pace, opinion polls in the national media showed opposition to holding the Games on July 24 from about 80 percent a month ago to 62 percent. in a recent survey.