Everyone knows the Olympics is a festival and competition where people from all over the world come together in peace and play games for medals. It is covered by media all over the world, fosters national pride and promotes exercise and sports as a healthy lifestyle and recreation. What people don’t know is that it is also one of the biggest marketing events in the world. Except for the world cup, the Olympics are the most watched sports events and the Bejing olympics in 2008 are expected to garner 4 Billion (with a B) viewers worldwide. For huge international and global companies this is an every other year chance to look like a friendly company that supports global peace and inspires you. (most commericals are made specifically for the olympics with specific olympic content) But, General Motors (GM) has decided to end it’s Olympic sponsorship after the Bejing Olympics in 2008. Why would they do that? Here are a few guesses:
They aren’t the largest global car company anymore. (Hello Toyota) They don’t sell nearly as many cars worldwide as they used to. And the people in other countries aren’t always thrilled about GM cars anyway. They make fun of them on TopGear all the time. (they do like Vauxall sometimes though)
They aren’t making enough money (profit) to justify $900 Million dollars for renewing the current sponsorship. Especially when most of it isn’t trackable and is ambiguous if it helps sales or not. (Hello OnlineAdvertising) They would probably be best to spend that money on more developments in new cars that compete with Toyotas (like the nice new Buick LaCrosse) and alternative fuels (like the Prius, or anything that gets 50-75 mpg (I’m not kidding I expect a car with 75 mpg)).
They have a lot of issues with profitability and selling this big of a marketing spend when sales are lagging is difficult. So, they will brand in any number of other ways, at the Super Bowl or other big events probably, but online advertising and other cheaper direct ways to market seem to be the way they are going, since they arnet the biggest fish in the pond anymore.