By Jenny Berg & Anna Sekula Posted July 12, 2012, 5:16 PM EDT
With the commercial partners of the London Olympics estimated to be spending substantial amounts promoting their brands, this summer's games may be one of the most heavily marketed yet. Global entities such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, McDonald's, and BMW have already started their campaigns, reaching out to consumers with television spots, pop-ups, and digital platforms. The hoopla will reach its peak at the end of July when the athletic competitions begin and brands open their pavilions and other activations in England's capital city. Here's a look at what the official sponsors have planned for main grounds of the games in Stratford, known as Olympic Park, and beyond.
Perhaps one of the most visible partners, the beverage brand launched its multifaceted “Move to the Beat” campaign in September, a global initiative that includes an anthem, a desktop and mobile app, and a pavilion that doubles as a massive musical instrument. The structure, a circular piece decorated with criss-crossing red and white panels, is being designed by the firm Pernilla & Asif with an eye toward creating a sensory experience. Visitors to the building will be able to create their own tunes by mixing the sounds captured by DJ Mark Ronson for the anthem, interacting with audio embedded in the architecture.
Billed as its biggest restaurant, the fast food chain's main presence in Olympic Park will be a 1,500-person eatery that will include a 70-seat second-floor balcony with a view of the main stadium. McDonald's will hold chef demos at its media center and invite some 20 children to meet athletes and explore London as part of its “Champions of Play” program, designed to drive home its commitment to healthy family meals.
The official airline of the games is working with the London 2012 Organizing Committee to create an area within Olympic Park's 250 acres that will have room for as many as 10,000 people to picnic and watch the action on a giant, double-sided screen. The 164,000-square-foot natural amphitheater, known as Park Live, will be the fifth largest venue in Olympic Park and have British Airways staffers on hand to guide visitors.
The official automotive partner to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will have a two-story structure occupying an elevated area above the Waterworks River in Olympic Park. Designed by British firm Serie, BMW's pavilion will house interactive exhibits on one floor and showcase the automaker's latest vehicles on another. In keeping with the company's commitment to sustainability, the temporary showroom will be built of steel with a high amount of recycled content and a minimal amount of concrete and other carbon-heavy materials. River water will be used to cool the building; after it’s been filtered, it will be returned to the river through an eye-catching curtain of water.
The Japanese electronics company partnered with the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Broadcasting Services to make the London Olympics the first games shown live in 3-D. Panasonic is building a 4,300-square-foot pavilion in Olympic Park that will broadcast three-dimensional live footage of sport competitions, including gymnastics and swimming.
The Taiwanese PC powerhouse, which was also a worldwide partner of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, is not only creating four Internet cafés in the Olympic Village and main press center, but also building a pavilion for consumers inside Olympic Park. The 8,600-square-foot, three-level structure, dubbed Acer's Journey, will be an interactive showcase of the company's products and technology.
Nearly a month before Samsung Mobile's U.S. subsidiary marked the launch of the new Galaxy S III with parties in New York and Los Angeles, the electronics company rolled out two pop-up shops for the smartphone in London. The mobile stores—playfully titled the Samsung Mobile PIN, as a reference to pinpointing a location on a map—opened May 29 in Westfield Shepherd's Bush and Old Spitalfield's market, hosting events and opportunities to meet with Olympic athletes. Samsung will also place one inside Olympic Park.
Electricite de France
As a way to illustrate the future of its technology, Europe's largest nuclear power generator will open a pavilion in Olympic Park next to the main stadium. The interactive experience from Electricite de France will have a light installation powered by hand pedals, an augmented reality section where visitors can take a photograph with British cyclist Victoria Pendleton or French swimmer Yannick Agnel, and a “tomorrow's world” zone to flaunt energy saving products.
Procter & Gamble
Moms are the center of P&G's Olympics campaign, and with this in mind, the company is recreating the P&G Family Home that was introduced at the 2010 Vancouver games. Designed as “home away from home” for mothers of the competing athletes, the space will include free meals, viewing lounges, Internet access, and other services from the company's portfolio of brands. Additionally, there will be four salons—debuting in the Olympic and Paralympic Village, main press center, and central London's Wella Studio—where visitors can get haircuts; coloring from Wella; styling from Pantene; grooming from Head & Shoulders, Gillette, and Braun; skin consultations by Olay; and makeup treatments and nail polish changes from Max Factor and CoverGirl.
As the official sportswear partner of the games, the apparel giant will host a space overlooking Olympic Park and the Olympic and Paralympic Village from the roof of the Westfield Stratford Shopping Mall. Open for 25 days, the activation is known as the Adidas London 2012 Lounge and will play host to daily events and digital installations. Touch-screen displays will let users check out shoes on a virtual footwear wall with 3-D products and videos that provide customer feedback on Adidas products. Additionally, the brand will host the Adidas experience in an area adjacent to Hyde Park's London 2012 superstore. The experiential space will have games with sporty challenges such as a basketball jump-height test, where players can upload their results to social media networks. With the Adidas Micoach video game, which is equipped with full motion-controlled support and optical body-tracking, players can virtually exercise alongside famous athletes.
For the 25th time the Swiss watch manufacturer is the official timekeeper of the Olympics and opted to promote this by setting up a countdown clock in Trafalgar Square to mark the 500-day countdown to the July 27 start of the London games. With a design inspired by the look of the international sports competition, Omega's steel clock was assembled and installed by a team of 10 workers over a two-day period. The 21-foot tower is 15 feet wide and weighs almost 9,000 pounds.
The British telecommunications company may not have a dedicated pavilion inside Olympic Park, but it is a key partner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, a multiyear series of events held to celebrate this edition of the games. Among the happenings sponsored by BT are the River of Music—two days of live music events at six iconic venues along the River Thames, starting July 21—and London Live, open-air hubs in Hyde Park, Victoria Park, and Trafalgar Square that will offer entertainment, activities, concerts for the opening and closing ceremonies, and live viewing of the competitions. BT London Live opens July 27 and runs through August 12.
The English chocolate maker is the official treat provider of the games and the biggest activation planned is the experiential Cadbury House set up in Hyde Park as part of BT London Live. The virtual tour will include a tasting area, interactive experiences with some of Cadbury's iconic sweets (including the Creme Egg, Wispa bar, and frog-shaped Freddo), and a game zone where the public will be able to interact with virtual athletes.
The Cultural Olympiad will culminate with the London 2012 Festival and, as part of this collection of public performances, exhibitions, and other cultural displays, the British oil and gas company is sponsoring an exhibition of artifacts from the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The show, “The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games,” debuts at the Royal Opera House the day of the opening ceremony and will showcase all Olympic medals since 1896, Olympic torches since 1936, and the stories and achievements of Olympians from the past 100 years.