Olympics sponsors: "Obsession with calories camouflages the good work companies have done", says marketing expert

Olympics sponsors: 'The obsession with calories has camouflaged the good work companies have done', says marketing expert

Sponsors have been criticised for promoting unhealthy foods

Friday, August 5, 2016

The International Olympic Committee have come in for criticism over their reliance on 'fast food' sponsors like Coca-Cola and McDonald's, but marketing expert Andy Sutherden has told talkRADIO that without their support, the Olympic Games would struggle to exist.

The Children's Food Campaign has blasted the sponsorship deals, saying: "We know first hand from London 2012 what a carnival of junk food marketing the Olympics are”, and complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority about Team GB sponsor Kellogg's use of the word "nutritious" on its Olympics promotional website. 

But Sutherden insists there is more to the companies' campaigns than meets the eye.  

"The obsession with calories has really camouflaged the work that some of these sponsors have done," Sutherden, the global head of sports marketing and sponsorship at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, told Yasmeen Khan. 

"Because they are often about getting children to move.

"They have always been very good at promoting activity and also one should absolutely be reminded of the amount of money they invest in the Olympics.

"There is never really much attention given to the £64m each [Coca-Cola and McDonald's] invest.

"We must be careful in pouring too much scorn on them, because without them the Olympics wouldn't happen."

Listen to the full interview to find out more