Olympics advertising can still pay off

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The Vancouver Winter Olympics start tomorrow, and it's not looking good for NBC. The network projects it will lose $200 million. Some of the big traditional advertisers like GM and Johnson & Johnson are skipping these games entirely. But Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports there are still companies ready to catch that Olympic spirit.


Ad: What is the original technology to make her a better athlete?

Mitchell Hartman:: This ad featuring women's downhill skier Lindsey Vonn has been selling a lot of gear for Under Armour, the brand she endorses. Target's hanging its fortunes on snowboarder Shaun White. Swiss watch-maker Hublot backs bad-boy skier Bode Miller.

Even with TV viewership down, Paul Swangard of the University of Oregon says the Olympics remain a golden marketing opportunity.

Paul Swangard: Not as much in traditional forms of advertising like 30-second commercials, but more in the use of sponsorship that can reach and touch those consumers who care about the Olympics.

Of course, it's nice when the sponsored athletes actually win.

: Being a champion matters, and I think the Olympic gold medal defines an athlete in such a way that they can transcend their sport, transcend the event of the Olympics.

That's important in sports like skiing and snowboarding, where even many top competitors sink into oblivion after the closing ceremonies.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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