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BRANDING NEWS: Xerox drops Olympics for Superbike sponsorship

Xerox has announced its sponsorship of the reigning world superbike champions – the Ducati Corse Team – for the next two years; it has been renamed Ducati Xerox as part of the deal.

This follows Xerox's decision to pull out of its 40-year long sponsorship of the Olympic Games last year.

David Millican, head of communications for Xerox, comments, “We sponsored the Olympics for a long time and it was very successful but it's a very big event that's somewhat inaccessible – taking customers or employees to Athens or Beijing is a huge undertaking – whereas the bikes is on a much smaller scale, and more accessible.”

Millican states that the decision to sponsor Ducati comes after a successful experience with the Stefano Caracchi team last year: “It was good for us in terms of customer and staff relations, we all also got great television coverage [broadcast on BBC2 last year] with Xerox's name on the side of a bike.

“This year we've got top riders so hopefully this will lead to even better coverage – you can't miss the fact that they're riding on a Xerox bike,” he adds.

The 2005 World Superbike Championship started at the end of February and will cross three continents until it ends in October. The UK races will be held at Silverstone and Brands Hatch where Xerox will entertain corporate clients and employees.

Millican adds, “Last year employees were invited to two practice days and customers to the race day. We could get them into the pits, very close to the action.”

A PR campaign is leveraging the sponsorship activity in the IT and printing trade press, the marketing press, and in titles such as Motorcycle News. As yet there are no plans to use advertising to raise awareness of the deal.

While Xerox is no longer an official Olympic sponsor it has supported London's bid for the games in 2012. In February it loaned equipment to the hotel where the International Olympic Committee stayed while they visited London. However once the bid is over, so too will be Xerox's involvement.


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