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By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

April 28, 2016 | 3 min read

Panasonic is attempting to generate support for Team GB athletes ahead of the Rio Olympics with its Superfans campaign fronted by Olympic gold medallist, Amy Williams.

A long-term official partner to the British Olympic Association (BOA), Panasonic is today (28 April) launching a social media drive which it hopes will give the Team GB athletes added motivation, helping them mirror the achievements which made London 2012 so successful.

Running under the tagline ‘Can You hear Us in Rio’ the integrated campaign is asking fans to show their support for Team GB athletes on social media by posting fun and passionate photos using the #superfans hashtag. The photos will then be collated on the Superfans webpage.

Panasonic brand ambassador and Olympic gold medallist, Amy Williams, won gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and she believes that “fan support really does make a difference for athletes”.

“Studies show that home support boosts performance, but Superfans is all about giving Team GB that support despite it being an away Games. It will mean so much for the athletes in Team GB to know they have Superfans cheering them on and really rooting for them back in Britain when they are competing far away from home, as I was in Vancouver,”

The campaign mirrors a growing trend of sports sponsorships which are increasingly turning their attention to fans and looking to engage with them. Orange and Continental Tyres have adopted this approach with their Euro 2016 sponsorships which both focus on the fans and look to praise them for their contribution to the sport.

Head of brand communications at Panasonic UK, Gaele Lalahy, added: “London 2012 was really the first social media Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the digital world has advanced so much since then. Panasonic is embracing this opportunity to connect Team GB fans and celebrate everything about the Games, both on and offline.

While the advances in digital, and specifically social media, have largely contributed to the evolution of sports sponsorship campaigns the broad change in approach coincides with scandals in football and athletics. Brands have come under increasing pressure to leverage their positions as a means of holding governing bodies to account for their failings and pulling their money out of the sports. This in turn could harms the fans and so by evolving campaigns to include fans and offer them something brands are able to subvert the pressures which the likes of doping scandals and tax evasion have thrust on them.

Panasonic is also an official ceremony partner for the Rio Olympics and Paralympic Games and will use its technology to deliver the visual and audio content around the world.

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