Some believe that the Beijing Olympics have the possibility to be the most controversial. However, that is not stopping active wear companies from becoming sponsors.

“The 2008 Olympics are key for brands in establishing a foothold in the huge consumer market that China represents” (Beckett, 8).

Adidas, the “German sneaker giant”, has been named the official licensee of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Hargrave-Silk & White, 8). This is the first time that the company has won the rights for any of the Olympic Games.  Adidas will be manufacturing and selling products with its logo and the Beijing Olympics mark.

Its campaign, “Together in 2008, Impossible Is Nothing”, “is designed to bring the Chinese people together and inspire them to rally around the Olympic Games” (Beckett, 8).

Other companies, like Coca-Cola, Lenovo, and Visa, are also gearing up for the Beijing Olympics (Madden, 37). For now, the promotions are only extending to China, but could extend to other markets in the future (Hargrave-Silk & White, 8).

Lenove is “probably the most aggressive Olympic marketer to date in China” (Madden, 37). However, it will only be able to give away products co-branded with the Olympic logo.  Only Adidas can sell co-branded products.

Thus far, Adidas is paying over $80 million in cash and services.  It is sponsoring 16 national Olympic committees, including China; it is also sponsoring 214 Olympic Federation sports, and more than 3,000 individual athletes.  Adidas is also supplying more than 500,000 pieces of apparel and footwear (Beckett, 8).

Millions are being invested in “Games-related marketing and business-development activities” (Madden, 37).  Adidas must stand out from Nike and Li Ning.

The latter is a local rival that back some of China’s top athletes and Olympic teams. Some consultants believe that if sponsors tailor their creative to specific athletes instead of bigger trends and themes, it’ll probably be “a safer bet” (Beckett, 8).

For Adidas, Yao Ming, center for the Houston Rockets, is the Reebok basketball star.  Adidas acquired Reebok on January 31, 2006 (“History”, n.d.).  Ming is looking to play in the Beijing Olympics.  For Ming’s American fans, the excitement may in fact spread to the U.S.

To come out ahead of the competition and to draw attention, a sponsor needs to be smarter and more strategic (Madden, 37).  It also needs to “be both pro-Olympics and pro-change in China in a way that’s nonpolitical” (Beckett, 8).

Some consumers may equate sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics with a backing of communist Chinese policies. The Chinese government controls their access to 1.3 billion new consumers with an interest in commercial goods (Beckett, 8).

Adidas was built on a passion for sports and a sporting lifestyle (“Our Values”, n.d.).  It has a clear strategy to generate consumer excitement and enhance brand profitability.  The Adidas Group strives to understand consumers to better enhance their athletic experience (“Our Values, n.d.).  As it has already been stated, Adidas will be the only sponsor that can sell its products co-branded with the Olympic logo.

In 2005, it “unveiled 1,000 shirts, designed with the Olympics ‘Five Friendlies’ mascots, which embody characteristics of some of China’s most popular animals—the fish, panda, Tibetan antelope and swallow” (Hargrave-Silk & White, 8).  Most people love shirts; they sold out very quickly.  With this in mind, this campaign should be a huge success.


Beckett, Whitney. (April 16, 2008). The Games Prevail For Active Firms.  WWD: Women’s Wear Daily 195 (82). Retrieved June 1, 2008 from http://web.ebscohost com.

Hargrave-Silk, Atifa and White, Amy.  (December 2, 2005). Adidas kicks off Olympics marketing. Media: Asia’s Media & Marketing Newspaper. Retrieved June 1, 2008 from http://web.ebscohost com.

Madden, Normandy. (October 30, 2006). Marketers limber up for 2008 Beijing Olympics. Advertising Age 77(44).  Retrieved June 1, 2008 from http://web.ebscohost com.

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