Brands join athletes in Torino for the Olympic games

Call it national pride or call it mass audience availability, but brands are doing what they can to take advantage of what they hope will be an engaged audience. For Rene Bertrand, executive director of media sales at CBC, it's a good thing. 'We have 15 sponsors this year. That's a record for us.' Last Olympic games netted 12 sponsors, he says.

'Everyone's really trying to leverage their involvement,' Bertrand says citing Bell Canada as an example of one such sponsor. Bell Canada's piece of the sponsorship pie is all about high interactivity. Exclusive CBC/Radio Canada content will be available to Bell Mobility customers. Hourly highlights will air 18 times daily in English and 13 times in French for MobiTV subscribers.

Call it national pride or call it mass audience availability, but brands are doing what they can to take advantage of what they hope will be an engaged audience. For Rene Bertrand, executive director of media sales at CBC, it’s a good thing. ‘We have 15 sponsors this year. That’s a record for us.’ Last Olympic games netted 12 sponsors, he says.

‘Everyone’s really trying to leverage their involvement,’ Bertrand says citing Bell Canada as an example of one such sponsor. Bell Canada’s piece of the sponsorship pie is all about high interactivity. Exclusive CBC/Radio Canada content will be available to Bell Mobility customers. Hourly highlights will air 18 times daily in English and 13 times in French for MobiTV subscribers.

In addition, the Bell-sponsored ’3 Stars’ feature invites hockey fans to play sports analyst and vote via SMS or online. Results will be posted on cbc.ca. A Goldrush contest further drives the interactivity, inviting fans to sign up for email or text alerts around the games. A $10,000 prize (doled out in gold, no less) will also be given away. In Whistler, BC, Bell will host a two-day event including an outdoor concert by Canuck band A Simple Plan, plus a live outdoor ExpressVu broadcast of the gold medal men’s hockey game.

‘[Bell's] ads will feature Samsung phones in the creative,’ adds Bertrand. ‘And this works because Samsung is also a sponsor of the games.’

For Visa Canada, he says, the credit card company has exclusivity around the games, and will intro a series of one-minute Olympic vignettes about the athletes.

On the network, games sponsor McDonald’s owns First Fan, an account from the first person to discover an athlete. First Fan will include key moments in the athlete’s career. Not to be outdone on the interactivity front, mcdonalds.ca will feature Olympic-inspired content including a flag of support, inviting Canadians to upload their image or pick out an avatar as part of an online mosaic. Online surveys, athlete profiles and mini jerseys will also be features on the site.

Other branded features on CBC include the hockey-only Gillette Game File which provides on-screen stats, the Samsung Play of the Game video recap and the Hockey Report presented by Rona, a primetime feature tracking the progress of the men’s and women’s hockey teams. The Olympians presented by RBC Financial Group is also positioned as the net’s premiere Olympic feature. The show will profile more than 75 Canadian and international athletes.

Other Olympic sponsors on CBC include: GM, Petro-Canada, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Kelloggs, Yoplait and Bombardier.

On TSN only, the curling-specific Tim Hortons Rink Summary feature will be aired live. The rink summary provides game updates for curling fans.