It is as much a decision for a brand not to sponsor an era-defining event such as the London 2012 Olympics as it is to do so.
BT's group marketing and brand director, Suzi Williams, made this intriguing observation at Marketing's recent gathering of marketers behind the sponsorship of the London 2012 Games.
Suzi may have been talking about Diageo, whose chief marketing officer Andy Fennell revealed at the Cannes Lions Festival why the London-headquartered drinks giant passed on the opportunity to sponsor the Games.
But this get-together was about those who didn't pass, with Suzi joining marketers from Eurostar, Cadbury, Cisco, Sainsbury's, Lloyds TSB and Coca-Cola to help explore why they got on board the London 2012 juggernaut, what they've learnt in the years since signing up and what they'd do differently.
It was an achievement to get them round a table, just one month before Danny Boyle's by all accounts surreal opening ceremony unfolds.
We share their experiences exclusively with you in this week's Marketing.
The weight on their shoulders is immense. Their participation is potentially career-defining, or heaven forbid, career-limiting, depending on how they have activated their sponsorship.
Negative factors such as ambush marketing may be outside their control, but they will be judged on decisions such as where they have spent their marketing budget, including staffing those all-important social-media teams. After that, it becomes about the legacy of their activity.
Undoubtedly, mistakes have been made. LOCOG chairman Lord Coe, tireless in his praise of how brands have helped deliver the event, is frustrated at their reluctance to shout about it.
All that said, the marketers at our gathering left us in no doubt that, for them, there's no substitute for having being involved in London 2012. For London 2012's athletes and competitors, this is the time of their lives. So it is for the sponsor marketers. We wish them well.
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