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Temple PhD Student Analyzes the Branding of the Olympics

Released: 5-Feb-2014 1:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: Temple University
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When Team USA marches through Olympic Stadium this week, they will be wearing outfits designed by Ralph Lauren.

Why would a high-end designer like this delve into the common-man dominated world of sports? Susannah Cobb McMonagle has the answer.

She is a PhD student studying media and communication at Temple University in Philadelphia researching why Ralph Lauren and other brands have gotten into the Olympic spirit.

Since 2008, Ralph Lauren has designed the Team USA uniforms and Team Italy sports Armani. McMonagle says the brands mirror the athletes who wear them - we aspire to be like them and achieve their greatness ... accessible, but high-end.

With 4 billion viewers worldwide, the marketing opportunities of the Olympics are obvious.

This year, Proctor & Gamble has - very strategically - sponsored a long list of athletes. Figure skaters - one of the few winter athletes whose faces we can see - are teamed up with Covergirl makeup. Female skiers, whose hair flows behind them as they are racing, are hocking Pantene.

Ralph Lauren isn't being subtle about it - their recognizable logo is quite obvious on their Team USA designs.

“As sponsors and partners continue to play increased roles in the Olympic Games, I suspect that we will see more logos from the team outfitters in more and more prominent positions,” McMonagle says. “From what I understand, Ralph Lauren has pretty free range with the designs they did, and apparently, took advantage of the opportunity to tattoo their logo on Olympians’ chests.”

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