The spotlight on Nissan’s sponsorship of the Olympics

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Nissan’s sponsorship of Rio 2016 is a big one. The tech-focused vehicle manufacturer has rolled out spoof videos, its own #DoItForUs hashtag amongst other supporting communications. For some it seems an unlikely pairing but when you really get down to it, the vehicles that support the logistics of the Games have a starring role themselves.

Here JJ’s automotive experts give their view on Nissan’s very public sponsorship and what Olympics sponsorship can do for a brand.

JJ’s view

To maximise the sponsorship, Nissan should have implemented an extensive pre-event marketing campaign and continued with proactive post-event activity.
Andrew Andersz

Fi’s view

A UK survey earlier this year suggested that being an official sponsor of the games is not necessarily a way of gaining long term brand awareness. How many of us remember who the official sponsors were of the London Games? Do we remember BMW for example?

However, during London 2012, BMW was seen as one of the winners, thanks to the vehicles provided for the torch relay and the road races – and they were a regular sight on London roads during the games. Nissan could be seen as a natural fit with the Rio Olympics. As the producer of the best-selling EV to date – the Leaf – a partnership with the ‘green’ games seems logical.

Nissan hopes the sight of a large fleet of primarily sustainable vehicles leading up to and during the Games, will increase brand awareness in the Brazilian and the wider South American consumer markets and enhance its ‘green’ credentials as a leader in sustainable vehicles.


Andrew’s view

Nissan can benefit greatly from its involvement in the 2016 Olympics if it has committed to investing as much money in marketing support activities as it has in actual sponsorship. When images from the Olympic events are broadcast worldwide support vehicles are almost invisible as the focus is inevitably on the athletes. To maximise the sponsorship, Nissan should have implemented an extensive pre-event marketing campaign and continued with proactive post-event activity. Sponsorship of a major summer sporting event doesn’t start with the opening ceremony and finish when the athletes go home. It should be at least a year-long programme that begins in January and concludes in December.

Tom’s view

Despite spending somewhere in the region of $250 million to sponsor Rio 2016, it was refreshing to see Nissan poking fun at the pushy brand manager stereotype with its #DoItForUs campaign.

But while the pranks did make me smile, what I found more interesting was the unveiling of Nissan’s working DeltaWing-inspired BladeGlider EV prototype. With zero emissions, the car is a perfect fit for the ‘green Games’, and a tangible example of Nissan’s core brand values: mobility and sustainability.

Amidst scrutiny around whether Nissan should be sponsoring the Games, it was important for the brand to get it right – but so far, it appears to be paying off…

Gaetan’s view

As a keen participant and spectator of sport, I scan through the list of official sponsors of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and only one big-name brand stands out as being directly related to sport – Nike. These brands have have spent a LOT of money to get their name officially associated with the “greatest show on earth”, but how do you link your company to the Olympics if what you’re offering has no clear connection to sport?

As the official automotive sponsor of London 2012, as well as supplying 4,000+ cars, bicycles and motorcycles to Games officials, BMW supplied scaled-down remote-controlled MINIs to carry back javelins, discs and hammers thrown by the field event athletes. It was a brilliant way of providing a useful service, in front of the biggest live audiences of the games, whilst playing on MINI’s fun and quirky image.

In Rio, I personally haven’t seen anything as innovative – yet. Big brands such as Nissan and Samsung appear to be going down the humour and celebrity route, which, although probably quite effective, has all been done before. I’d prefer to see the brands being incorporated into the actual sport, somehow.

The field events kick off this Friday and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a few Nissan Leafs doing the heavy lifting this year.

The green games

So there you have it. There are many good reasons for the pairing, but whether the brand sticks in the public’s mind once the goggles have dried and the hammer throw dust settles, is yet to be decided.

Any thoughts on Nissan’s sponsorship, or Olympic and sports sponsorship in general? Share them with us on Twitter.

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