It makes sense that an advertising blitz during the year’s most-watched event will boost your brand, but that wasn’t the case for automakers during the Rio Olympics.
I’ve been glued to various screens watching The Games of the Thirty-First Olympiad, much like many of you, I assume. Streaming some lesser-known sports, such as kayak slalom, which resembles a water autocross save the distinct lack of Tilley hats, has helped me get through slow days at the office.
But like any other time I’m watching a broadcast from another land, my petrol-addled mind wanders to the streets outside the televised event’s venue. I daydream about the cars parked there. What are those people driving that I can’t get here?
Topped only by FIFA, the two next-least trustworthy international sports associations have joined forces today to speculate that we could see Formula E cars race through Tokyo streets for the glory of games and country in 2020, according to F1Insider (via Road & Track).
The original report, which was written in German, says FIA executives pitched the idea to Olympic organizers and offered the Formula E cars for competition.
Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve said he would “definitely” participate and added that 30 years ago tennis wasn’t part of the Olympic program, but now it’s a staple.
But that’s not even the best part.
Buick sold some special-edition Centuries as part of their sponsorship deal with the 1984 US Olympic athletes, and we saw one of these cars in this series last year. The later Olympic Edition Buicks are harder to find; there are still some ’88s around, but this is the first ’96 I can recall seeing anywhere. Let us admire its athletic grace. (Read More…)
Unhappy with his team’s performance this year in general and at the 2014 winter Olympics in particular, a German bobsledder compared the team’s slow sleds to the Trabant, the primitive 2-stroke powered cars sold in the former East Germany. ABC News quoted bobsled pusher Kevin Kuske, who has won four gold medals at previous Olympics, as saying, “If in 2010 we were sitting in a Formula One car, then this time we were sitting in a Trabby.” At the same time, German bobsled enthusiasts are a bit unhappy with BMW because the German car company helped make the sleds for the America bobsledders, who so far have done well in Sochi. (Read More…)
Yes, GM was a major sponsor of US Olympic athletes at the 1984 Summer Olympics (which were boycotted by most of the Warsaw Pact as payback for Jimmy Carter and friends boycotting the ’80 Olympics over Part XXIV in the War In Afghanistan), which meant that you could buy an Olympic Edition Buick Century that year. I moved to Southern California while the ’84 Olympics were going on, but all I remember about them was my friend who made the national news by drunk-driving over tens of thousands of orange cones set up for the bicycle-road-race event in Orange County (delaying the start of the event and earning five years of weekend orange-vest-freeway-cleanup duty)… and the sight of all these Olympic Centuries being driven around by low-level employees of the Games. Here’s one that managed to stay on the street for nearly 30 years, before washing up in an Oakland self-service yard. (Read More…)
The London 2012 Olympics promise to be a “low Carbon” affair. The London games will have everything from a low carbon Olympic flame to official energy provider EDF providing 24MW of energy from renewable resources. Even the official Olympic fleet is getting in on the “low carbon” act. What else is there to do? Right: The humble British Black Cab is getting the “low carbon” treatment. It’s coming from a source that had already been written off: Hydrogen. (Read More…)
GM withdrew its sponsorship of the US Olympic team after the 2008 games, because, as a spokesperson explained at the time, “we have other avenues to be able to reach this same audience without bearing the expense of being an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic team.” However, GM is a main sponsor and official vehicle supplier of the 2010 games in addition to being the main sponsor of the Canadian national team. According to TNS Media, GM was the leading advertiser in the 2006 Winter Games, spending $111.6m and leading the auto sector to a resounding lead in ad spending (total $156.7m). General Motors has reportedly cut back its ad spend on Vancouver, but details aren’t being disclosed. And at least one GM investment in Vancouver-related publicity won’t be paying off: the General Motors Place is being temporarily renamed the Canada Hockey Place in order to comply with IOC standards. We’d normally make some crack here about your tax dollars at work, but Olympic sponsorships are lined up years in advance. Too bad that back in 2007, when GM was losing $2b annually, it denied that its financial status had anything to do with its removal of US Olympic team sponsorship. Had the firm been more realistic about its financial health… well, who knows where we’d be right now.