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How the Olympics will Change China: The Consumer View

22 August, 2008

Beijing — A just released national survey conducted by the Ogilvy Group in China indicates that in addition to boosting national pride and economic welfare, the Olympic Games will fundamentally change people’s attitudes not only towards sports, but self-confidence, openness and leisure time. In fact, nearly 90% of respondents believe that there will be some impact on sports, and over one-third said that the Olympics would make them care about sports more – which counters traditional theory that sports are of little relevance in China.

The first part of the study surveyed 1,282 respondents from July 18-25 between the ages of 18 and 54 in China. Questions were asked including, how will the Olympics impact your personal life; how will the Olympics change China; how will the Olympics change the way you view sports; and how will the Olympics change the way you view your leisure time? The same questions were asked to respondents during the second week of the Games in order to determine the extent to which they were influenced by the actual reality of the Games after so many years of preparation.

Sports and Society
The survey found that 50% of respondents believe that sports will play a fundamental role in improving the physical and mental well-being of Chinese society. We can expect this to be facilitated by the government who perceives sports as helpful in supporting the holistic development of children as part of a broader approach to education. This government support and alignment will help to accelerate the growth of sports in China.

In addition, the survey showed that 40% of respondents believe that sports provide both a sense of brotherhood between people and an opportunity to participate and contribute to society.

Commented Shenan Chuang, CEO of Ogilvy Group China, “Contrary to the 'silver is the first loser' mentality, consumers already believe that sport is about building, bonds, brotherhood and a different kind of society.”

Redefining Leisure
The study finds that rather than the Olympics representing a temporary interest in sports, people want sports to play a greater role in China’s future, with roughly two-thirds of respondents saying that the Olympics has and will change their approach to leisure time – a growing phenomena of the swelling middle classes of China.

"We all heard and thought that the Olympics were about pride and economics, but the optimism of the Chinese have surprised us here again,” said Edward Bell, Regional Planning Director of Ogilvy & Mather China. “We are now seeing the Olympics as a sporting event that will change the social landscape of China by redefining the meaning of sport and leisure.”

Economics of Sports
Almost one-third of respondents reported that they will participate in more or more varied sports and leisure activities as a result of the Olympics; this presents much room for growth in China’s sports industry.

This consumer appetite for both a greater diversity in leisure experiences, and a more frequent and varied relationship with sports, affirm the increase in ‘demand-side’ factors that are emerging in the sporting economy in China. Chinese consumers are becoming more and more ‘sports savvy’ as involvement in, and exposure to, both sports and sporting events continues to mushroom in China. This presents an opportunity for the supply side factors such as infrastructure, events, brands and media to play a role in filling this rising appetite for sports.

“People have underestimated the visceral power and excitement of witnessing high level sport with their own eyes. They thought they knew all about it. They thought the Games were about economics. Now all of a sudden, they are inspired to pick up some sport shoes and go for a run. Sport is inspiring a new kind of passion in China,” added Bell.

China and the West
One in four respondents believed that the single greatest legacy of the Olympic Games is that China will benefit from an enhanced understanding within the West. While there is no evidence to suggest that the Games is strengthening international friendship, there is a clear indication that people believe understanding has been strengthened. And this is arguably a very important step in building stronger bonds. conducted fieldwork for the study.

About The Ogilvy Group in China
Ogilvy China ( is the largest marketing communications network in China. It offers the full range of marketing communication disciplines including advertising, direct marketing, interactive media, database management, public relations, graphic design, and related marketing disciplines. As Brand Stewards, the agency works to leverage the brands of its clients by combining local know-how with a worldwide network, creating powerful campaigns that address local market needs while still reinforcing the same universal brand identity.

Ogilvy & Mather integrates these communications disciplines using its proprietary 360 Degree Brand Stewardship process, which holds that every point of contact builds the brand. Ogilvy Group Companies are working with 10 of the Olympic sponsors, partners and suppliers.

Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide ( is one of the largest marketing communications network in the world, operating 497 offices in 125 countries. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide is a member of WPP plc (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s leading advertising and communications services groups.

For more information, please contact:
Alexandra Robinton
Corporate Communications
Tel: (86 10) 8520-6458

Acrobat Document ogilvy_pressrelease_olympics_aug08_guid4e64c6ad327.pdf

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