BP aims to win more than plaudits from £50m Olympic sponsorship

Deal with oil major brings 2012 promoters closer to goal of raising £600m from British business

BP became the latest British corporation to become a headline sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics yesterday, in a multi-year deal estimated to be worth in excess of £50m.

The oil major joins an illustrious list: Lloyds TSB, EDF Energy, Adidas, British Airways and BT are already signed up to contribute both money and services to put together and run the event.

So far Adidas is the biggest contributor, with a total effort worth some £100m that the company says will help to leave a legacy of better public access to sports facilities.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games needs to raise £2bn, on top of the £9.3bn from taxpayers. Around £600m will come from domestic corporations, the rest from merchandising and ticketing, broadcasting rights, and the International Olympic Committee. Locog is pleased with its progress. It is unprecedented to have even a single 'tier one' sponsor agreed before the previous games take place, let alone six. There are only two more top slots to fill, although plenty of opportunities for second and third level involvement remain.

BP's contribution will include fuel for all 4,700 official vehicles, as well as Liquefied Petroleum Gas for catering and technical support. It will also be supporting the four-year "Cultural Olympiad" designed to ensure that the impact of the games reaches across the whole country.

Tony Hayward, the chief executive, said: "We want to support this momentous event, which will also provide a unique opportunity to engage with our own large UK and global workforce, the millions of customers we serve each day, and our existing partners in the arts, education and cultural arena."

BT is putting up a vast array of communications facilities – in effect, a giant showcase of the company's ability to manage large, complex programmes.

But simple advertising is not all there is. Such a long-running programme also has the scope for subtler benefits, for both the brand and the organisation. BT's effort, for example, included creating a team of top sportspeople, such as the double Olympic gold winner Dame Kelly Holmes, to inspire the company's 100,000 staff to become mentors, coaches and helpers for young British athletes.

LloydsTSB, which was the first company to sign up as a top sponsor, has three objectives: to drum up business, to build the brand, and to bring together its 68,000 staff. According to the group's internal tracking, customers who are aware of the sponsorship are already more likely to buy extra financial products than their counterparts who do not know about the link. And the scheme to help fund 250 budding young athletes every year was not only borne from staff suggestion, but is also helping to foster employees' involvement.

"This is for our customers, our brand and our people in equal measures, and we are already seeing real success," said Sally Hancock, director of the London 2012 partnership at Lloyds TSB.

Such a vast promotional stage can also be used to push a wider message. Adidas wants to inspire more people to participate in sports, and is to build a 625 square metre multi-sport "zone" in each of the five host boroughs. "This not just a giant advert, it is an association with the biggest sporting event in the world," a spokesman said. "There is no point in just writing our name on things, if you are going to get involved, you have to do things. It is about the legacy."

For EDF Energy, it is a platform to trumpet its message of sustainability. "Our ultimate goal is to unite people to make London 2012 a turning point in the race against climate change," the company says.

But while Olympic sponsorship may offer almost unrivalled exposure, it also requires careful management. Peter Walshe, the global bands director at Millward Brown Optimor, said: "There are few opportunities of this scale, so the potential rewards are extremely high, but we are not talking about just a few weeks at an event, this has a build-up of several years, and then the magnifying glass of the actual games."

The main requirement is for the sponsor is to have a clear goal. "If you are not careful, and all you do is tell people what they know already, then the danger is that it comes across as showing off, as flashing money around, and just highlights the negatives," Mr Walshe said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003