Finding a place in the sponsorship jungle for top companies
As the countdown to London 2012 begins, so too does one of the most valuable sporting properties in the world -- the multi-billion euro global Olympic sponsorship programme.
The body has 11 global sponsors that each pays about $100m (€80.5m) for a four-year Olympic cycle -- seven of which are signed up as far as 2020.
The sponsors buy a link to the Olympic brand and the right to use the rings in their marketing campaigns. The less tangible gains come from what sponsors call the "fairy dust" of the Olympics, or the feel-
good association that they hope will rub off on their company.
Olympism, seen as a philosophy of life based on the joy of effort, good examples, social responsibility and ethical principles, makes it an attractive idea that big brands are keen to be identified with.
By and large, when choosing what to sponsor, most companies aim to match the event to the image of their brand. Coca-Cola for example targets Coke Zero a young, male clientele, hence its association with NASCAR (sport car racing). Diet Coke, which feels a little more female, is linked with the Oscars. Sprite, a lemonade with an "edgier, more urban" image, at least in America, has a tie-up with the NBA. Some sponsors even create events in their own image. Red Bull, a drinks brand, is presenting air races in nine cities and sports apparel giant Nike is holding 10km road races in 25 cities.
Last week, when Dublin Zoo announced that it was looking for sponsors for two habitats, it got me thinking as to who might be interested in sponsoring the popular attractions.
Seeking €1m for the two habitats, one just launched and another heading for a revamp, the zoo is hoping that some of Ireland's best-known companies will step into the jungle.
So if our listed companies would like to sponsor an animal or habitat which best resembles their company and its performance, here are a few suggestions:
Ryanair -- gorilla enclosure. Lots of chest beating and bragging.
CRH -- elephant pen. Slow and cumbersome but long lasting and effective.
Allied Irish Banks -- mules' stable. Stubborn and incapable of change or reproduction.
DCC -- tortoises' hut. Cautious, slow and steady. Around for about 250 million years but still underrated.
Fyffes -- primate house. Lots of bananas and even more banana skins.
Paddy Power -- crocodile pond. Fast moving, aggressive and you never know where they're coming from.
UTV Media -- sealions' lake. Always barking at each other. clumsy outside its natural habitat.
Tullow -- polar bear. Highly successful predator which likes to prowl alone.
Kingspan -- wolf trail. Prowling through eastern Europe looking to snap something up.
Smurfit Kappa -- camel enclosure. Not loved, not pretty, but massively underrated.
Aer Lingus -- draught horse preservation sanctuary. Once essential, now in danger of extinction.