Mondelez defends Olympics sponsorship amid refusal to confirm a sales increase is end goal

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 5.33.11 PMCadbury and the Australian Olympic Committee have defended their newly-inked sponsorship deal with the confectionary maker insisting it will not use the partnership to overtly promote its products but to share the “joy” of Australian sporting success.

The comments came as Cadbury parent Mondelez International announced it will become the “official chocolate, candy, biscuits and spreads partner of the Australian Olympic team”.

Along with Cadbury, other Mondelez brands sponsoring the athletes are The Natural Confectionary Company, Oreo, Ritz, Vegemite and Kraft Peanut Butter.

With cases of obesity in Australia said to be climbing faster than many other nations, it has again raised questions over the suitability of a chocolate brand being involved in such a high profile sporting event.

Lauren Fildes, Mondelez International head of strategic partnerships and events, denied it was inappropriate arguing the sponsorship was geared towards promoting the “essence of Cadbury, and that is joy”.

“We are promoting the celebration of the Olympics. We are not promoting our products in the context of sport and we would never do that,” she told Mumbrella. “And we never direct advertising to kids. It’s all about joyous moments. We are taking the essence of what Cadbury means which is all about joy and we take great pride in that.

“We want to celebrate the small moments of joy as well as the iconic moments of the Australian athletes at the Olympics and we want to bring those moments to Australians.”

Asked several times to confirm the sponsorship was ultimately designed to increase sales, Fildes said: “We want to communicate our brand message which is about joy.”

She added it was “not taking the angle” of attempting to sell more chocolate bars and packets of biscuits.

“It’s about being part of the Olympic event where we know Australians will stop for two weeks to watch the swimming, to watch the athletes and want to be part of bringing that joy to Australia,” she said.

It is not the first time Cadbury’s involvement in the Olympics and sport has sparked debate. The chief of the London Games was forced to defend the confectioners’ sponsorship of the event in 2012.

AOC olympic logoThe Australian Olympic Committee also defended the sponsorship, insisting that athletes “promote a healthy lifestyle”.

“They train hard and inspire others to get involved in sport. All 460 athletes on the Australian Team will be very appreciative of the support they are receiving from Mondelez,” a spokesman said.

“Nutrition is key to an athlete’s performance and it is accepted that all food should be consumed in moderation. Even elite athletes allow themselves the odd treat, especially Cadbury’s chocolate.”

Mondelez, whose brands also include Oreo, Ritz, Kraft peanut butter and Vegemite, will launch a fully integrated campaign in January that will run through to the closing ceremony in Rio at the end of August.

Amanda Banfield, Mondelez International Australia and New Zealand managing director said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to support the Australian Olympic Team – as a country and as a company.

“Our brands bring joy to millions of Australians every single day and we are looking forward to our exciting partnership and celebrating our Australian Olympians competi at this iconic sporting event”.

Cadbury recently launched a new ad campaign built around its sponsorship of Nine singing reality contest The Voice. The brand invited one of the show’s judges, Jessie J, to “share the joy” by bringing enlisting her as a brand ambassador.


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