J&J partners with Olympic Games

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In a global deal spanning the breadth of its business, Johnson & Johnson will participate in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as an official partner.
The comprehensive sponsorship, announced yesterday at a ceremony in Beijing, also makes the company an official partner of the 2008 Paralympic Games; the official healthcare products sponsor of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy; and the official healthcare products partner of the United States Olympic Committee. Company subsidiaries also will become the official healthcare products partner of the national Olympic teams of more than 20 additional countries.
While not the pharma industry's first brush with the Olympics, "It's the first sponsorship of this magnitude for J&J," Lorie Gawreluk, J&J executive director, corporate communications, told MM&M.
The deal may also be the first of its kind for such a broad-based healthcare company. The partnership extends across J&J's consumer products, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices and diagnostics businesses.
Gawreluk, speaking from Beijing, was part of a contingent J&J dispatched to China for the announcement that also included J&J Chairman and CEO William C. Weldon.
Financial details cannot be made public, Gawreluk said, per the agreement with the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOCOG).
But the BOCOG marketing program is on a lower tier than the TOP (The Olympic Partners) program of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose 11 sponsors--such as Coca-Cola, G.E. and McDonald's--paid $50 million to $75 million for the right to use the Olympic logo in their marketing. IOC owns the rights to the Games.
In contrast, another member of the BOCOG program, Anheuser-Busch reportedly paid about $15 million for Budweiser to be the international beer sponsor.
J&J is the ninth BOCOG affiliate. The tenth emerged today, packaging giant UPS.
"The agreement was just signed, and we now have to start that process of going out to the operating companies and educating them about the opportunities to integrate the sponsorships into their marketing activities," Gawreluk noted.
In a statement, J&J said its subsidiaries plan to conduct internal and external marketing programs over the next seven months to highlight the association with the Olympic Games across Europe and in Italy.
For J&J involvement in the 29th Olympiad marks the latest step in its strategy to penetrate the Chinese market, which it entered in 1985.
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