The games of the XXX Olympiad are underway and over the next fortnight sports fans around the globe will be treated to some of the greatest feats of athleticism the world has ever seen. The competition for Gold Medals will be intense in London, but perhaps just as intense will be the competition for market share being waged by some of the corporate world’s biggest and most formidable brands.
From official sponsorships of the games to the sponsorship of marquee athletes, many of the strongest, most profitable companies around will be front and center to millions of Olympic viewers over the next two weeks. That will undoubtedly be good for this elite group of corporate athletes. It also could be very good for the share price of many of these corporate giants.
Procter & Gamble
Premier consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) is an official sponsor of the Games, which means you’ll be seeing a whole lot of advertising for brands such as Ivory Soap, Crest and Head & Shoulders.
In fact, P&G has enlisted the help of one of the biggest Olympic stars, swimmer Michael Phelps, in its advertising efforts. Phelps is the spokesperson for Head & Shoulders, and the aqua star hopes both he, and P&G, will be head and shoulders above the rest this Olympiad. Whatever happens in the pool, P&G’s share price surge of 8.5% over the past month, and its 3.5% dividend yield, make it a Gold Medal winner for investors.
The biggest fast food restaurant in the world is McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), and the company is making its presence known once again at the Olympics. In fact, McDonald’s has been a huge supporter of the Games for decades, both as an official sponsor, and through advertising on TV broadcasts.
The company also has a history of offering special promotions on its menu in honor of the games. Earlier this month, McDonald’s reported earnings that were solid, but just a bit weaker than the bulls had hoped for. That’s put some pressure on the stock; however, winning Olympic Gold over the next two weeks could be the boost the company needs to get back to winning form.
Yet another official sponsor of the games is beverage giant Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). The world’s largest non-alcoholic beverage company sports brands such as Sprite, Dasani, Powerade, and, of course, it’s namesake soft drink. Coca-Cola is always a big presence at major sporting events, and the Olympics are no exception.
The company’s storied history with the Olympic Games is part of its marketing genius—a genius that’s helped make Coke known in virtually every corner of the globe. Coca-Cola is one of those stocks that I advocate owning forever, so virtually anytime is a good time to grab some shares.
However, if you want to get in on an Olympic share pop in this soda maker, then now is the perfect time to open a bottle in your portfolio.
SPDR Gold Trust
Given all the talk about Gold Medals, it makes sense to consider the actual metal in question, and that’s gold. The premier flight-to-safety investment, as well as a great hedge against dollar devaluation, gold continues to be the investment of choice for smart investors worried about the prospect of central banks around the world printing more and more fiat currency.
The more dollars in circulation, the more investors flock to hard assets like gold, and one of the best ways to get in on gold’s luster is via the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD). This ETF is pegged to the spot price of gold, and it’s backed by the actual physical metal, which is held in vaults in London—which coincidentally is the city where this Olympiad’s athletes will be vying for their own golden amulets.
When it comes to knowing how to market its products, there is no better company than sports apparel and footwear giant Nike (NYSE:NKE). One of the world’s most popular brands, Nike knows how to associate its brand with winning teams, both in professional sports, college sports and the Olympics.
This year’s Nike-sponsored Olympic stars include tennis great Roger Federer and basketball champion LeBron James. The most interesting thing about Nike is that they manage to get their brand presence known even while eschewing the considerable cost of becoming an official sponsor of the Games.
By sponsoring marquee athletes like Federer and James, and by outfitting many of lesser-known athletes who are medal favorites, Nike gets its brand major — and winning — exposure. The company also knows that the Games are a great opportunity to launch new products, and this Olympiad is no exception. Nike plans to unveil the Superfly R4 shoe and Turbo Speed Suit, both of which are designed for sprinters.
The Games could help Nike shares sprint higher, a welcome change for a stock that’s stumbled of late due to economic slowing in China and Europe.