Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:US), the maker of medical products from Tylenol to Band-Aids, will join a group of 11 companies with exclusive worldwide rights to use the Olympic symbol.
The sponsorship was announced today at a press conference at the Turin Winter Games attended by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.
``This global opportunity will enable Johnson & Johnson to provide enhanced heath education, services and care to people around the world while expanding our reach in emerging markets and strengthening our business in developed areas,'' Brian Perkins, the company's vice-president for corporate affairs, said in a statement.
Financial details weren't disclosed. The 11 so-called TOP sponsors paid a total of $866 million in cash and services for exclusive worldwide rights to Olympic images such as the five rings. The current contract covers the four-year Olympiad that includes the Turin Games and the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
Johnson & Johnson's global sponsorship starts at the end of the Winter Games this weekend and covers the 2008 Games and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
Johnson & Johnson is already the official health-care products sponsor of the Turin and Beijing games. Those deals were limited to the countries where the games are being held, meaning the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company couldn't associate itself with the Olympics in the U.S. or anywhere in Europe outside Italy.
The so-called TOP program began for the Olympiad that concluded with the Seoul Games in 1988. Nine companies paid a total of $98 million. It replaced a series of country-by-country deals that companies complained were poor value.
The amount has grown with each Olympiad and the companies have become more international. Of the first nine, seven were U.S., while five of the current 11 are from the U.S.
``If a company really understands how to integrate the sports sponsorship into their marketing portfolio, not just for the two weeks of the event but with a four-to five-year strategy plan, it's an incredibly powerful and cost-effective asset,'' Michael Payne, the IOC's former marketing chief who now advices Formula One racing, said in an interview.
Of the current 11, Coca-Cola Co. (KO:US), Atos (ATO) Origin SA, General Electric Co. (GE:US), McDonald's Corp. (MCD:US), and Visa International have signed up as TOP sponsors through the London Games in 2012.
Samsung to Extend?
Samsung Electronics Co., Asia's biggest maker of mobile phones and semiconductors, will probably extend its sponsorship of the Olympic Games until 2012, Kwon Gye Hyun, head of Samsung's sports marketing division, said in an interview in Turin.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s Panasonic, Swatch Group AG (UHR)'s Omega, Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), Eastman Kodak Co., and Lenovo Group Ltd. (992) haven't said yet if they plan to extend their sponsorship beyond Beijing.
Timo Lumme, the head of the IOC's marketing and television rights unit, said in an interview in Turin that the TOP program is limited to 12 companies.
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