Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where's My Money?

Olympic athletes in low-wattage sports like badminton, kayaking, fencing and water polo are to appear in a series of ads for Bank of America--including posters in bank branches and online spots--before the Beijing Games in August. The perceived purity of smaller sports plays a big role in BOA's choices, says bank spokesman Joseph Goode. Many major sports have been beset by scandal.

Home Depot also has had a policy of hiring lesser-known Olympic hopefuls with full pay and benefits, while requiring them to work 20-hour weeks with schedules that allow flexibility for training. And Visa has made it a point to sponsor athletes in new medal sports, including women's pole vault and women's bobsled.

A bonus for marketers backing new or lesser-known sports is that athletes come cheaply. BOA says it pays them low five-figure sums. Paul Swangard, managing director of the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, calls BOAs approach "almost like a mutual-fund strategy"--picking a larger group of lesser-known athletes, which can yield a few stories that capture fans' attention.

The Wall Street Journal
A small note to anyone serious marketing types reading this (and there are some, if only for the fact that's what I do for a living)... if you are looking for a lesser-known Olympic hopeful who can keep his nose clean for that critical endorsement season, I'm your man. Besides, you can call me a badminton champion. Like anyone's going to know?

1 comment:

Steven said...

I would've picked Modern Pentathlon myself.