Despite the post-election trauma in France, brands sponsoring the 2024 Paris Olympic Games should be able to leverage their investments. There is a huge contrast between the current political context today in France and the universal message that the Olympic Games will convey in about three weeks. Despite traditional French skepticism and pessimism, the momentum across the world is growing, and there is no reason why the event and the opening ceremony will not be perfectly and securely organized.

The Games Are A Big Opportunity For Brands

For brands sponsoring the show, this is a unique opportunity to benefit from the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games: courage, competition, respect, transcendence, excellence.

Beyond the opportunity to develop brand awareness and preference — thanks to massive visibility across a potential of 3 billion or more spectators — firms can activate their brands with exclusive products. For example, P&G will involve more than 30 brands of its portfolio in launching dedicated Olympic and Paralympic Games-inspired campaigns and will activate in-store and online retail programs with more than 150 retailers from around the world. Measuring the ROI of such an investment is always difficult; firms should not just measure the short-term impact of sales, but also take into account the longer-term aspects in terms of brand value and employee engagement for the thousands of employees proud to see their employer associated with the Olympics — not to mention the ability to reinforce relationships with French public authorities.

Global World Olympic Partner, Premium Partner, Or Official Partner? Does It Matter?

The benefits will vary quite significantly depending on the level of partnership and investment from the 15 global World Olympic Partners, such as Allianz, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Toyota, and Visa, and the different national partner brands, whether they are premium (Accor, BPCE, Carrefour, EDF, LVMH, Orange, Sanofi, ), official sponsors (Air France, Danone, Decathlon…), or official supporters.

Overall, the Olympic Games are also a good opportunity for brands aiming to get closer to women and younger audiences. For example, Samsung is sponsoring selected athletes in the surf, skateboard, and breakdance categories. The firm will leverage the opportunity of the Paris event to open a pop-up shop on the Champs-Elysées while announcing its global Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris on July 10. Some global partners are investing about US$20 to $30 million, while local premium partners invest about €90 million. LVMH is investing closer to €150 million but is leveraging the craftmanship of several of its “maisons,” such as Chaumet, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Moët Hennessy, and Sephora, for the medals and Berlutti for the official outfits.

Expect To See A Huge Effort To Reduce The Environmental Impact, But Beware Of Greenwashing

One unique specificity of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the strong ambition to reduce the carbon footprint by 50% versus the London or Rio Games and to minimize the environmental impact. A total carbon budget of 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 has been set and will be compensated via some contributions to climate. The biggest question mark to achieve this goal is the number of fans flying over to Paris to attend the games in person.

Otherwise, strong efforts have been made to reuse 95% of existing or temporary infrastructure while making sure that new buildings would be eco-conceived. Supermarket giant Carrefour, which will deliver fresh produce for athletes’ meals, is keeping distribution loops as local as possible. Enedis (subsidiary of state-owned electricity utility EDF) has connected the Olympics’ sites to the main grid, with power for the games coming from renewable sources instead of powering stadiums with diesel-fueled generators.

Such a strong environmental ambition has allowed sponsors such Arcelor Mittal, CMA CGM, and Coca-Cola to highlight parts of their sustainability efforts, but the risk of greenwashing remains high. For example, Coca-Cola has made serious efforts to provide 13 million reusable caps, 700 fountains, and bottles in recycled plastics. However, detractors are right to point out that the firm is not fundamentally changing its business model and remains among the top plastic polluters on the planet.


Clients wanting to know more about this can schedule a conversation with my colleague, Dipanjan Chatterjee, or with me.