Plan ahead

According to Brown, retailers need to think in advance to make sure they secure relevant stock. “From our experience there will be a growing demand spreading out from London. From Easter 2012 the nation will start to get Olympic fever. Our business model is based on future orders which means that any retailer looking to start their London 2012 merchandise sales from Easter needs to place their orders by October 2011.”

Brown says c-stores should be looking for space efficiency in the branded products that they stock. “My tip would be to buy good commercial products with big graphics that can be merchandised in units that are space efficient. We’ve developed a freestanding unit for this very reason. Clothing and accessories will be the biggest categories, but there are others such as toys, key rings, pin badges and many more.”

Of course, selling official merchandise isn’t the only way for c-stores to get involved. Many household brands also come under the umbrella of some of the main sponsors of the event.

Official sponsor P&G will be continuing with its Proud Sponsor of Mums campaign and has announced that 90% of its ticket allocation will be given to the public until October 31, 2011. To kick off the giveaway the company is offering the opportunity to win tickets through purchase of P&G products. Nathan Homer says: “From now all the way through to the end of the Paralympic Games in September we will have both corporate programmes that will run across all of our brands, as well as brand-specific plans that retailers can take advantage of to bring the excitement behind the Olympics to their store.”

Cadbury is also sponsoring the Games. Susan Nash says: “We saw support and sponsorship of London 2012 as a great opportunity. The spotlight is going to be on our nation.”

The company will be adding some Olympics-themed excitement to its Christmas offering with Olympic mascot Wenlock and Paralympic mascot Mandeville set to grace retail counters in a few months’ time. Cadbury has also launched Jelly Mascots under its Bassetts brand in sharing bags exclusively to Sainsbury’s this month, with a national rollout expected for September.

Great Britain and Ireland selection packs featuring 2012 imagery and logos are also due to launch later in the year. And Cadbury Heroes will have a taste of Olympic glory, too, with a theatrical pack format. Cadbury has created a collectable tin in the shape of a London bus containing Heroes. The bus will be branded with 2012 logos and Union Jack imagery. The pack also includes images of the chocolates themselves as sporting heroes, such as a Twirl sweet weightlifting a barbell.

Cadbury has been running its Spots vs Stripes campaign since 2010, which has included an on-pack promotion Challenge an Olympian, culminating in a live event with Rebecca Adlington, Amy Williams, Phillips Idowu and Kriss Akabusi. Nash says: “Through Spots vs Stripes we’ve helped to motivate the nation to play games on the way to 2012.” She says that the campaign was deliberately less Olympic focused at first, but says it will build as the Games get closer. “If the campaign was too Olympic focused it would be difficult to activate it until close to the Games. It helps to create groundswell.”

As seen on TV

The most recent announcement from the campaign is a Cadbury partnership with ITV’s Minute to Win It a UK version of the international game show. Over the summer ITV and Cadbury will be seeing a new phase of the campaign encouraging people to take part in everyday games to be completed in a minute, with ITV2 branding on Spots vs Stripes digital activity and at events and a Minute to Win it website hosted at The show will launch in September.

Coke is a name that has been linked with the Olympic Games since 1928, longer than any other corporate sponsor of the Olympic movement. Says wholesale trading director Darren Goldney: “London 2012 is a big occasion, not just during the Olympic Games itself, but also pre- and post- the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s a significant opportunity for all retailers.

“If we look at other sporting occasions such as 2010’s FIFA World Cup we saw the soft drinks category benefit from an uplift in the sales during this period. In fact, Coke grew value sales by 13.3% year on year during the World Cup period (Nielsen four weeks ending July 11, 2010).”

He adds: “Given this is the Olympic Games and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see them take place in the UK, we would anticipate that sales of soft drinks will increase in the run up to and during London 2012.”

The company kicked off its celebrations by launching the Olympic Torch Relay (see panel on p32) earlier this year and the flame logo will run across 257 packs of Coca-Cola, diet Coke and Coke Zero, with two pricemarked packs available to the independent sector. This year the company also launched Powerade ION4 to be used by Team GB and Paralympics GB to prepare for London 2012.

Heineken is another official sponsor and is promising innovative promotions in the run up to the Games. Doug Walker, head of off-trade customer marketing, says: “Through the success of this and the Heineken Cup, we know that the brand’s sponsorship of the Olympics will provide a fantastic platform for promotion which will result in increased consumer and retailer value.”

The rules of the Games

Away from actual sales, one of the most important ways that carrying official merchandise and products from sponsored brands can help retailers is in circumnavigating the incredibly strict rules regarding the use of the London 2012 name and branding (for further details see

Innzone Royal Mint collection has a window poster featuring the line ‘2012 merchandise sold here’. Says Glyn: “Come March next year there will be a lot of unofficial merchandise, but nowhere can put up a logo unless it’s on an official product.”

As P&G’s Homer points out: “As an official partner we can offer two main benefits to retailers. The first is the right through our partnership to use all of the Olympic trademarks when used around our brands, creating excitement and interest in stores. The second is help and guidance to make sure retailers can take advantage of this and have the worry of the legalities taken off their hands.”

Whether it’s to keep on the right side of the law, or simply to keep the cash till ringing, retailers need to be looking to 2012 right now in order to be first past the post.

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