Interesting Olympic Support

by Vianka McConville

The two-man U.S. Olympic bobsled team won the bronze medal Monday, breaking a 62-year medal drought in the event.  Part of the victory belongs to BMW as the official Olympic sponsor that designed the winning bobsled.  AP estimated BMW’s sponsorship (which does not begin or end with the bobsled team) to be $24 million.  Was it a good investment – as a German car maker?

BMW has operated in the U.S. as BMW of North America since 1975. The bobsled was created at the headquarters in New Jersey.  It turns out the stretch of a German car maker supporting a U.S. team is not that big, but the connection is not clear unless you are curious to understand why BMW’s support is not going to German athletes.

BMW is undoubtedly leveraging the recent win with new ads, but it omits important messaging that makes the clear connection from Germany to the U.S.


As a consumer, I might be skeptical of the support and think the global brand is simply trying to find a way to tap into or grow a foreign market since it is not an American brand.  I would be right.  The BMW global brand strategy included supporting China in the 2012 Olympics.

It seems the company has taken it upon itself to be a “global” supporter of the Olympics, but clarified messaging can help with authenticity … as opposed to going into different markets and shining like a beacon of light every few years.

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