Young adults don’t recognize brand sponsorships

Brand sponsorship
Brand sponsorship
Usain Bolt wearing Pump evoSPEED shoes. Photo: Tom Oldham.

Bad news for sports apparel companies: the 18-24 demographic don’t seem very susceptible to recognizing sports apparel brand sponsorships.

A survey of 1,941 individuals in the 18-24 age group conducted by One Poll in the United Kingdom found 68 per cent of respondents rarely or never notice what brand of clothing an athlete is wearing when competing, and only 30 per cent responded that they sometimes notice apparel sponsorships when an athlete is in the media.

Worse still, 77 per cent claimed that recognizing what brand an athlete wears doesn’t make them any more likely to buy that brand.

Usain Bolt, one of the world’s highest paid athletes by endorsement sponsors, was only correctly identified by eight per cent of respondents as being sponsored by Puma, his longtime apparel sponsor. Fifteen per cent thought he was sponsored by Nike, a company he has never been affiliated with.

Virgin Media, who also sponsor Bolt, fared slightly better. Thirty-one per cent knew Bolt was sponsored by Virgin.


Interestingly, sports stars behaving badly seems to have little negative results on this younger demographic. Eighty-three per cent of respondents said an athlete behaving badly has no effect or a positive effect on on their perception of the athlete. This is interesting, as when an athlete is exposed as having behaved poorly sponsors are often quick to drop them, a good example being when Michael Phelps was found to have smokedĀ marijuana.

Jessica Ennis fared best in the survey, who 38 per cent recognized as being sponsored by Santander, a spanish banking group. It’s noteworthy the survey was taken in the U.K., where Ennis won a gold medal for the host country in the heptathlon at the 2012 London Olympics.