Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent that marketers are using place-based images to promote their brands within the host city of the Olympic Games. It is thought that non-sponsors may use place imagery as an alternate way to affiliate with the event or sponsors may use place to enrich their sponsorship activity. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses an observation-based approach to collect a sample of place-based promotional activity that is accessible to pedestrians during the 2012 Olympic Games. Findings – Results reveal that official sponsors and non-official sponsors are both using place-based imagery in their promotions within the host city of the Olympic Games. However, non-sponsors use place images more frequently than sponsors of the event. Place images were invoked by promoters using country flags most frequently followed by icons and explicit mention of place. The leading dimensions of place images employed by marketers include country character, the built environment and people competence. Place-based promotional activity was frequently observed in shopping areas, transportation, sports venues and in free media. Research limitations/implications – Results provide justification for future research in the area. Specifically, the need for empirical work based on surveys of consumers and interviews with practitioners are noted. Practical implications – In an era of highly protected event marketing rights, the existence of promotions based on place images can be a useful application for official sponsors to leverage their investments and protect their exclusivity. Similarly, results are beneficial to non-official sponsors who may seek to market in the vicinity of these events without infringing on the rights of official sponsors. Originality/value – While previous research on place, mega-events, the Olympic Games and sponsors has found the images of the three to be related, it is not known to what extent sponsors and non-sponsors utilize place images in their promotional activities throughout the Olympic host city.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Ambush marketing, Country image, Mega-events, Olympics, Place image, Sponsorship
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/MIP-03-2014-0061
Journal Marketing Intelligence and Planning
Citation
Nadeau, J. (John), O’Reilly, N. (Norman), & Heslop, L.A. (2015). Cityscape promotions and the use of place images at the olympic games. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 33(2), 147–163. doi:10.1108/MIP-03-2014-0061