Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe the key driving forces in international sponsorship during the years preceding the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Design/methodology/approach – A “means‐objectives model” is applied, thereby linking sponsorship to brand equity factors and to strategic aims. Co‐branding, revenue streams and new customers are identified as means factors. The objective factors are presented in three dimensions: product, corporation and region. The analysis is based on 492 advertisements, articles and press releases collected from Chinese newspapers and Chinese official web pages covering the period 2001‐2007. Findings – Analysis sees seven dominant means‐objectives combinations in sponsorship leading to different pattern of sponsor advertising strategies depending on the lead time to the Olympic Games. First, sponsors mainly focus on co‐branding marketing efforts. In the second stage, global Olympic sponsors link co‐branding with corporation image, Chinese brands are focusing on product/corporation image and new customers. In the third stage global Olympic sponsors focus more on local markets and customers in advertising. Chinese brands tend to keep an activation strategy based on revenue and product. Only a few local sponsors place emphasis on leveraging their sponsorship investment toward creating an international image. Research limitations/implications – Data collection is limited to a period of altogether three months in 2006 and 2007, focusing on Chinese print media available in Beijing and Shanghai universities' libraries. Given the size of the Chinese media market the data therefore consist only of a random selection of advertisements. Further, the sample does not cover different marketing channels, like TV, radio etc., which might also be part of the sponsor's advertising strategy. Originality/value – In addition to providing further understanding of Olympic sponsor advertising behavior and sponsorship in an emerging market context, this paper provides insights into how the strategic aims related to sponsorship depended on the level of internationalization of the firm.
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 12, 2010
Keywords: Olympic Games; Sponsorship; Advertising; China
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