ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Business trends

Sponsors Coca-Cola, Omega grab marketing opportunity at Pyeongchang

State-owned bullet train rail operator saddled with $3.4bn of construction costs

Swiss watchmaker Omega, a sponsor of the Winter Olympics, took out many newspaper ads during the games.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that ended Sunday offered a golden opportunity for companies to advertise their products and boost their brand image.

One of the sponsors of the games, Coca-Cola grabbed attention for its concerted marketing efforts. It set up 50 vending machines in the Olympic Village that hosted more than 20,000 athletes. The company gave these athletes keys that allowed them to get drinks from the vending machines for free. Coca-Cola also established so-called "experience zones" in Hongdae, Seoul and Gangneung for the duration of the games where people could carve their names on bottles of the company's drinks.

Its TV commercial has also created some buzz in the host country. In it, a South Korea hockey player frisks his Canadian counterpart for a bottle of Coca-Cola. They then jump and run for the drink only to find that their colleagues were already enjoying plentiful bottles of Coke in the locker room.

Swiss watchmaker Omega was also an official partner and ran lots of newpaper ads over the last few weeks, including one featuring South Korean figure skating legend Kim Yuna.

U.S. tech company Intel, also an Olympic partner, impressed by performing drone shows at the opening and closing ceremonies. Intel said that it was moving into fifth-generation and drone technologies.

Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding, another Olympic partner, also opened a large-scale exhibition center in Gangneung, one of key venues of the games. Chairman Jack Ma visited the site and talked to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach about the company's products and services.

Alibaba Group Holding opened a large-scale exhibition center in Gangneung.   © Kyodo

But another sponsor, Samsung Electronics, was relatively quiet during the games, as the company continued to battle with negative publicity due to recent troubles. Its leader and Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was slapped with a suspended two-and-half-year jail sentence earlier this month for giving 3.6 billion won ($3.3 million) to Choi Soon-sil, a lifetime friend of former president Park Geun-hye, as a sports sponsorship for Choi's daughter, a budding equestrian. None of Samsung's high-ranking executives attended the opening or closing ceremony of the games.

"Samsung may have regretted losing the chance for marketing due to absence of the owner family," said Kim Jae-in, a director at Korea Public Relations Association. "It was a good opportunity that a consumer company should have seized."

South Korea's state-run railway company, Korail, contributed to the Olympics by building a new high-speed rail line connecting Seoul to Pyeongchang and Gangneung. The 3.7 trillion won ($3.4 billion) rail line was financed by taxpayers.

It takes two hours to reach Gangneung from Seoul through the new 284km line, making the journey shorter by one to two hours in comparison with travel by car or bus. The line was open late December, ahead of the Feb. 9 opening of the Winter Olympic Games.

The bullet train runs at a speed of up to 250km per hour, although it has a maximum speed of 300km per hour. This is because it cuts through the mountainous Gangwon Province area. The journey involved going through 34 tunnels and over 47 bridges.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media