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Social-Media Gold for Olympic Advertisers – But So What?

By Matt Egan – Published August 21, 2012 – FOXBusiness

With the London Olympics now in the books, it’s time for the multinational  companies that splurged on pricey ad campaigns to assess whether it was worth it  to have their logos plastered all over the games.

After all, global brands like Coca-Cola (KO:  39.61, +0.14, +0.35%), Procter & Gamble (PG:  66.97, +0.22, +0.33%) and General Electric (GE:  21.02, +0.10, +0.45%) didn’t shell out tens of millions of dollars purely  out of their love for the Games.

It’s too early to tell how sales were impacted by the association with the  Olympics. However, a new study by WPP’s (WPPGY:  68.25, +0.56, +0.83%) Wunderman shows that while most Olympic sponsors  enjoyed a surge in social-media engagement, their brand favorability on Facebook  (FB: 19.71, -0.30, -1.50%), Twitter and other social media have only “marginally  increased” thus far.

“I thought we’d see a lot more positivity around the brands because they were  the custodians of the content,” said Jonathan Lyon, head of strategic insights  at Wunderman U.K. “They didn’t benefit as much as we thought they would in the  short-term.”

For the eleven worldwide Olympic partners, the report found that brand  favorability inched up just 0.6% during the period of the games.

“Being an Olympics sponsor is not an obvious decision for companies,” said  Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School  of Management.

To be sure, it is early to assess the impact of the sponsorships and some  brands did enjoy a significant jump in favorability.

For example, Visa’s (V: 128.50,  +0.34, +0.27%) favorability soared by 4.2%, thanks in part to the card  giant’s association with Olympic superstar Usain Bolt, who won a trio of gold  medals in London.

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