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Edelman Survey Shows Tokyo 2020 Sponsors Must Focus on Contribution to Olympic Legacy to Drive Purchase


Demonstrating a contribution to the Olympic legacy will be key for successful sponsorship of the Tokyo 2020 Games, according to a recent survey by Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm. While 72 percent of Japanese consumers said they are favorable of Olympic sponsors’ products and services, only one in five say sponsorship alone is likely to trigger a purchase decision. Moreover, fewer than one in ten would recommend sponsors to family or friends. Japanese consumers say their top expectation for sponsors is a contribution to the Olympic legacy (45 percent) rather than campaigns (32 percent) or promotional offerings (28 percent). Young people are most likely to be influenced to buy or recommend products from Olympic sponsors (39 percent of students).

“It’s more than just awareness and likes that drive results,” said Ross Rowbury, president and representative director of Edelman Japan. “Consumers want brands to play an active role in their life, beyond its products and services. They want to share a present and see a future together.”

Edelman Japan conducted an online survey of Japanese consumers’ perceptions and expectations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games nationwide. Immediately following the close of the Rio Games in August, 700 consumers across four key demographic groups were polled: 1) students 16-24 years old (y/o), 2) single or married people 25-49 y/o without children, 3) married people 25-49 y/o with children and 4) seniors 50-69 y/o.

The survey shows that only 15 percent of Japanese people are “negative” or “somewhat negative” about the Olympics, despite the initial challenges that Tokyo 2020 has faced. Remarkably, seniors are the most positive group, with 90 percent saying they are “neutral,” “somewhat positive” or “very positive” about the Tokyo 2020 Games. Edelman Japan believes this positive sentiment is related to nostalgia for the success of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which many of today’s seniors experienced firsthand. The next most positive groups are families with young children and students, who are excited about Japan opening to the world.

Other key findings of the Olympic Survey conducted by Edelman Japan:

  • Phrases most often associated with Tokyo 2020 included: “striving for the best” (23 percent) and “teamwork” (20 percent), followed by “friendly,” “courteous” and “passion” (15 percent each).
  • Respondents expect the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to leave three main legacies: sporting venues transformed into other public facilities (46 percent), improved public transportation (38 percent) and new communication infrastructure for more free WiFi (32 percent).
  • All four sub-groups of respondents echoed similar concerns about the Games. The main issues are economic burden (52 percent), followed by over crowdedness (40 percent) and compromised security (39 percent).

About Edelman Japan
Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman Japan provides consulting services including those based on our global and independent research. Leveraging our global network, we offer not only communication marketing within Japan, but have also developed PR support for Japanese clients overseas. We have been awarded Campaign’s Japan/Korea PR Agency of the Year (2013: Bronze, 2014: Silver and 2015: Gold), The Holmes Report’s North Asia Consultancy of the Year (2016) and PRWeek’s Japan/Korea PR Consultancy of the Year (2015). Visit for more information.

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