In the Olympic spotlight – Mastercard becomes supporter of Christ the Redeemer

Ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics, brands have started to step up Rio-centric, wider Brazilian and international activities in the run up to the games. In the countdown to August 5th, we will be offering a regular commentary on of the main movers and shakers from the sponsor and non-sponsor categories.

In the spotlight this week: Mastercard (non-Sponsor)

Just four months before the games and with an agreement lasting until 2018, non-Olympic sponsor Mastercard have announced a new deal with the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro to become an official supporter of the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue.

The initiative forms part of the brand’s international “Priceless Cities” programme and includes commitments to the ongoing maintenance of the statue as well as local community outreach programmes

An official brand spokesperson was keen to point out that the agreement was actually negotiated last year but only announced now, and that Mastercard simply wanted another Rio landmark for their programme, independent of the Olympics.

Our verdict: In spite of the fact they were also quick to say that the agreement allowed the brand to leverage the iconic Rio statue without having to talk about the Olympics (a possible reference to the organising committee’s strict restrictions for non-sponsor brands, compared to a Visa, for example) and that Mastercard don’t do “guerrilla”, given the parallel restrictions on photo-calls at the statue and the fact its image is likely to plastered all over the international media in the coming months, this seems a well-timed land grab by a non-sponsor in the build up to the event.

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