A quarter of consumers believe that Olympic sponsor McDonald's is a poor fit with the Games, raising questions about the long-term sustainability of sports sponsorship by high-calorie food and drink brands.
Exclusive research commissioned by Interbrand for Marketing has revealed that McDonald’s prompts the greatest division of opinion, followed by Coca-Cola.
A quarter of consumers either strongly or completely disagreed that McDonald’s is a ‘good fit’ as an Olympic sponsor. Meanwhile, 10% of respondents strongly or completely disagreed that Coca-Cola is suitable.
Meanwhile, 32% of consumers said that the fast-food brand’s involvement conflicts with what the Olympics stands for, and 39% believed that its products and services are not relevant to the Games.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s defended its sponsorship: ‘Our long-term commitment to the Olympic Games has provided us with the opportunity to develop exciting programmes for our customers and for our people.’
She added: ‘Sponsorship is essential to the Olympics, and as a London 2012 sponsor, we are using our catering and customer-service expertise to provide high-quality British food, and help train the 70,000 volunteers that will be needed to make the Games a success.’
Adidas was ranked as the most appropriate Olympic partner; 59% of consumers said that its sponsorship is a good fit.
However, in better news for McDonald’s, it was the second-most spontaneously recalled sponsor, with 35% of respondents recognising its tie-up.
The brand came second only to Coca-Cola, which had a 42% unprompted recall rate. Consumer interest in what has been dubbed the ‘first social-media Olympics’ has been growing steadily since the beginning of the year.
According to Interbrand, 4m tweets mentioning the Olympics have been sent in the past year.
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