Choosing champions wisely: due diligence for Olympic brand ambassadors

The upcoming Paris Olympics provide an incredible opportunity for brands to leverage the global stage. It’s a time when ambassador partnerships, particularly with sports brands, food and beverage companies, and payment services dominate the advertising arena. Signing ambassadors – often athletes – represents a significant coup for organisations, especially when the talent is in strong medal contention.

Selecting the right Olympic ambassador

Brands obviously go through careful selection criteria to ensure an athlete aligns with the brand’s values, target audience, and marketing goals. But this should only be part of the story. As brands scramble to make the most of the Olympic spotlight and buzz that surrounds it, they run the risk of signing an ambassador in haste and potentially putting their reputation at risk.

Brand ambassadors and reputational risk

As with any partnership there are always associated risks. When an individual is nominated as a representative of a brand, they become an extension of its values and mission. Any divergence from this may alienate customers, lead to bad press and ultimately damage reputations.

Going into these partnerships without being fully aware of all the baggage an athlete potentially comes with, means that controversial political opinions, involvement in doping, and instances of inappropriate conduct – regardless of how long ago they occurred – could come back to bite a brand when they least expect it.

So what should thorough due diligence investigations of prospective Olympic brand ambassadors cover?

Background checks

Our due diligence reports comprehensively cover the subject’s current and past positions, confirmed net worth, corporate interests, and property transactions.

We meticulously review criminal and civil litigation records, watchlists, sanctions, and any connections to public office or state interference.

We also provide a complete history of verified social media profiles, previous partnerships, endorsements, and address any client-specific sensitive areas.

While this may seem extensive, it ensures that any hidden risks are uncovered, leaving no room for nasty surprises.

Aligning with integrity and values

Purpose-driven marketing has become a buzzword in marketing circles but with conscientious consumers and savvy audiences, it is all but essential to choose ambassadors who are passionate about social causes which reflect a brand’s values in order to foster deeper connections with audiences.

Performing thorough due diligence on potential Olympic partnerships allows you to delve deeply into the sponsorship, ensuring that purpose-driven marketing efforts are both meaningful and authentic.

In the advent of Paris 2024 we’ve seen gymnast Max Whitlock partner with supermarket chain, Aldi, with the brand leveraging his profile to help encourage young children to eat healthily.

Activewear brand Athleta entered a partnership with US swimmer Katie Ledecky, focusing on empowering women and girls through movement.

While Hannah Cockroft, a Paralympic champion in wheelchair racing, partnered with BT to promote disability inclusion and digital accessibility.


Protecting your brand

Choosing the right brand ambassador involves more than just selecting a popular figure; ambassadors should embody the brand’s ethos, values, and mission, ensuring authenticity and credibility, which are crucial for resonating with consumers.

We work with brands and rights holders to conduct due diligence on prospective brand ambassadors. Our Brand Ambassador Reports go further than any other provider and delve into the background of the subject, uncover areas of concern and recommend steps to mitigate risk with the proposed partnership.


Ready to take the next step? Request a sample Brand Ambassador Report.

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