Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) expecting more than $150 million sales lift from Sochi Olympics

New mom-centric commercial debuted Monday

CINCINNATI - Procter & Gamble Co. is aiming for a sales boost of more than $150 million from advertising and promotional campaigns around the Sochi 2014 Olympics, based on comments made by P&G executives in advance of a new Olympic commercial.

P&G debuted its "Pick Them Back Up" commercial that will blanket the airwaves during NBC’s Olympic coverage in the U.S. It’s the latest installment in P&G’s award-winning “Thank You Mom” campaign, which celebrates the sacrifices mothers make to produce world-class athletes. A two-minute version of the ad was published on YouTube Jan. 5, drawing thousands of hits per hour Monday.


“Mom’s contributions to their kids’ lives are full of incredible sacrifices,” said Jodi Allen, P&G VP of North American Marketing and Brand Operations, in a press release .

“We’re so moved by these moms and the way they help their children overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams.”

P&G achieved a $500 million sales lift from its mom-centric campaign for the London Games. Reuters said P&G is targeting about a third of that total for Sochi, attributing the estimate to Global Brand Building Officer Marc Pritchard.

“We are activating in the markets where the Olympic Winter Games are most relevant, such as Russia, the United States, Canada, Germany, and Poland,” said P&G spokesman Paul Fox. “About one third of the countries participate in Winter versus Summer.  While we won’t discuss detailed projections, we’re appropriately adjusting our sales expectations.”

As WCPO reported in October, P&G ramped up its Olympic sponsorships in 2010 when it signed a 10-year deal with the International Olympic Committee, making it one of 11 worldwide corporate sponsors that each commit an average of $25 million a year in rights fees. Others in The Olympic Partner program include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, G.E. and Dow Chemical. At the 2012 Summer Games, 13 P&G brands sponsored 28 Olympic athletes. At least seven brands are pairing up with Olympians for the Sochi Games, including an Olay campaign featuring U.S. skiing Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn and Gillette, which is encouraging men to “Reveal their Inner Steel” with ads featuring Russian hockey player Alexander Ovechkin and Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer.

Olympics marketing expert Rob Prazmark said P&G is wise to dial back the promotional spending for the Winter Games, although he thinks a $150 million sales lift is a conservative estimate. Prazmark got P&G into the Olympic marketing arena by brokering a 2009 deal between P&G and the U.S. Olympic Committee. That deal led to P&G’s larger IOC partnership in 2010.

“They’ve got a barn burner of a program, but they’re smart,” said Prazmark, CEO of 21 Marketing in Greenwich, Conn. “They’re not going to waste energy on markets that are not conducive to winter sports.”

Prazmark said P&G faces little to no risk of reputational harm from the Sochi Games, despite global concerns about intolerance. Some have called for U.S. companies to boycott the games over Russian laws dealing with homosexuality.

Prazmark also thinks the Sochi Games could be the last appearance for P&G’s “Thank You Mom” campaign. He expects the company will closely watch sales results and focus group studies on how well the message resonates with consumers.

“Coke has changed out their themes a couple of times over the years. Does the mom campaign have more legs going into Rio? That’s something that they’re going to have to sit back and review,” he said.


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