Paris 2024 offers brands an Olympic-sized opportunity

The Summer Olympic Games are a major marketing moment thanks to the way they combine elite sporting performance with entertainment, culture and community.
08 July 2024

Director, Kantar BrandZ

Get in touch

The COVID-19 pandemic momentarily dulled the shine of the Olympic Games in 2021, as health restrictions led to a more muted outing in Tokyo. Now, however, the Olympics are back in full force, with Paris 2024 set to be the biggest global sporting event since the 2016 Rio Games.

This year’s Olympics present a huge opportunity for brands, perhaps more so than ever before. That’s because there are more ways than ever to reach engaged Olympics audiences. Official sponsorship (of the Games themselves or of national teams) still remains the surest route to make a splash, and to that point, $1 billion in sponsorship revenue has already been secured. But in addition to these marquee sponsorships, the International Olympics Commission has relaxed rules governing individual athletes’ ability to endorse brands during the Games.

As a result, we can expect to see more direct social media interaction between athletes, brands and fans via social platforms in Paris, including on TikTok, which was still a more niche curiosity in many markets back in the days of the 2021 and 2022 Games.

Kantar’s Sports MONITOR Athlete Reputation Tracker indicates that Olympic athletes, past and present, remain highly desirable options for brands looking for sponsorship opportunities, with Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Suni Lee all making the list. And new names are sure to join their ranks during this summer’s fortnight, to the benefit of brands agile enough to link up with Paris’s rising stars.

Invest in truly global reach

As mentioned, some of the world’s fittest brands have already lined up to partner with the Olympics. With all eyes on the host nation, French brands in particular have a rare opportunity to showcase their stories on the global stage. Official partners include the crème de la crème of French brands, many of which are ranked in Kantar BrandZ’s Most Valuable French Brands: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Air France, Orange, Decathlon, Carrefour, EDF, FDJ and Danone. 

LVMH is one of the most notable corporate names at the Games, and will be present in a variety of ways: think medals designed by its Parisian jewelry house, Chaumet, and hospitality hosted by Moët and Chandon. So, what’s in it for LVMH? The prestigious luxury house has an opportunity to strengthen its corporate reputation among a broad audience and predispose more people to think positively about its brands. At a time of challenging cost-of-living and inflationary pressures, this partnership could go a long way in reminding people why LMVH brands are worth paying for.

Louis Vuitton’s presence at the Games shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to Kantar BrandZ research, the luxury brand is best known for its distinctive look and feel and its sense of leadership, qualities which lend themselves well to collaborations and sponsorships. Louis Vuitton’s striking monographic pattern is recognizable in any context, from the basketball court to the metaverse, and its sense of innovative leadership aligns with sporting values of surpassing limits and aiming for perfection.

The brand also has a recent history of sports and athlete partnerships, including collaborations with the NBA under Virgil Abloh and ventures into e-sports with Riot Games. Louis Vuitton has also long produced its signature trophy cases for occasions like the America’s Cup, FIFA World Cup, and the Ballon d’Or.


Source: Kantar BrandZ

More than visibility 

It’s not just official partners that can benefit from Olympic excitement. Well-timed campaigns across unofficial channels can just as easily engage a global audience. Take the epic battle between Adidas and Nike around the London Games in 2012. While Adidas had the official partnership contract, Nike’s ‘ambush’ caused a stir in the industry, but served up some fantastic results for the brand. Nike swerved around the London Olympic advertising restrictions by onboarding 400 athletes as ambassadors to compete in their shoes, and by filming in creative locations like London, Ohio and Little London in Jamaica.

That year, 37% of people recognized Nike as an Olympic sponsor, compared to 24% for official sponsor Adidas. And Nike gained 57,000 followers on social media, compared to 12,000 for Adidas. Ultimately, this success came down to creative quality. In 2012, Nike’s ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign (which also featured ordinary people pursuing their own goals) had huge emotive impact with sports fans, and proved that all brands can by part of the Olympics conversation if they can communicate in a Meaningful way. 

A clear emotional connection sets Nike up for success time and again when it comes to creative quality. It’s about more than merely driving awareness. Instead, Nike uses emotive and recognizable brand storytelling to build Meaningfully Different association – building long-term predisposition rather than mere short-term sales. Today, Kantar’s LINK database shows that ads evoking strong emotions have four times the impact and are much more likely to drive brand equity.

Source: Kantar BrandZ

Balance consistency with authenticity 

To truly reap the rewards of a presence in (or around) Paris, brands need to ensure they are engaging consumers in authentic and relevant ways that are aligned with the brand’s positioning and values. This takes a careful balancing act of tailoring the message to suit the occasion, but not straying too far from what consumers know you for. 

One brand with a track record for getting this right is Corona. From sports events to music festivals – and with a real focus on sustainability partnerships and initiatives, Corona is able to engage a range of audiences whilst maintaining its consistent brand positioning. In 2024, Corona will become the first beer brand to gain status as an official Olympic partner via the non-alcoholic Corona Cero. 

Reflecting the current health and wellness trends driving innovation in the alcohol sector, Corona Cero’s presence will drive category perceptions of beer as a drink of moderation and choice, all while building awareness for the new product. Here, we don’t expect to see Corona emulating those messages of greatness and ambition we get from a brand like Nike; instead, Corona’s ‘This is Living’ positioning fits perfectly with everyday sports fans enjoying all the moments this ‘summer of sport’ has to offer.

Source: Kantar BrandZ

With an exciting year ahead, all brands have an opportunity to pick up a podium finish. Ultimately, the winners will be crowned not by their levels of investment, but by their ability to build Meaningfully Different connections.

Implications for brands

  1. Invest in global reach. Take opportunities to predispose more people by investing in exposures and experiences to build positive perceptions.
  2. Build Meaningful Difference for lasting impact. Don’t treat this as a simple promotion, instead, optimize your creative.
  3. Balance consistency of positioning with authenticity of messaging. Understand how you can connect with audiences in a way that fits with your brand.
Kantar BrandZ global 2024
Discover the world’s most valuable brands and future growth strategies
Download the report
Discover your top brand equity indicators in seconds with Kantar BrandSnapshot powered by BrandZ.
Explore for free
Get in touch
Related solutions
Strong brands provide value for businesses and shareholders. Supercharge growth with the world's largest equity platform.
Proprietary data tools that connect human-centric insights to your database to inform decisions, strategy and messaging.