Alpha Bank Grand Sponsor of Athens 2004 Olympics
On 13 August 2004, Athens welcomed athletes to the 28th Olympic Games in an emotionally charged opening ceremony. Alpha Bank was the Official Bank and Grand Sponsor of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Details of the largest-scale sponsorship ever to be offered in Greece emerge from advertising and promotional material.
Alpha Bank advertising and promotional material in the context of its Athens 2004 Olympic Games sponsorship:
- The first print media ad launched as soon as it was announced that Alpha Bank would be the official bank of the Games (photo 1).
- Alpha Bank’s new composite logo (photo 2).
- Poster of the Alpha Bank Olympic Sports Panorama hosted in cities all over Greece (photo 3).
- The gold and silver Athens 2004 Visa cards that were Alpha Bank’s first Olympics-related products (photo 4 and 5).
- Print media ad of Alpha Bank proudly announcing its appointment as the Official Bank and Sponsor of the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (photo 6).
Grand Sponsor of the Olympic Games
On 8 February 2001 Alpha Bank was appointed Major National Sponsor and Official Bank of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The bank was also a sponsor for the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games held on 17-28 September 2004.
It also offered sponsorships to 8 athletes across both events. The athletes’ names were officially announced in February 2003.
Sometime before the Games started, Alpha Bank launched a major campaign around the slogan “Proud sponsors of Greek dreams.” The campaign aimed at encouraging all athletes and boosting the confidence of “all those who believed in Greece’s ability to organise unique Olympics.”
Alpha Bank’s logo and Olympics-related products
The use of a new, composite logo was established. The composite logo consisted of the bank’s existing logo and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games logo. Together, the 2 comprised a single visual identity.
Alpha Bank launched a series of Olympics-related products on the occasion of the sponsorship. The first one was the Athens 2004 gold Visa, a collector’s item, in March 2001.
“EPATHLON”, an innovative loyalty and rewards programme and the bank’s most extensive such programme until then, was launched in April 2003.
Partnering with other sponsors
In July 2004 official sponsors Alpha Bank and Visa International teamed up.
To ensure better, faster and more secure transactions during the Games, they launched a series of new services including:
- An extended network of ATMs.
- POS terminals with EMV (European Mastercard Visa) Chip technology allowing the use of smart cards throughout the Olympic facilities.
- These were the first standalone ATMs and POS terminals in Europe to use EMV Chip technology.
The contribution of Alpha Bank employees
450 Alpha Bank employees volunteered to help in the preparations for the Olympic Games and during the actual events.
On 11 October 2004 Alpha Bank organised a special event to honour all volunteers and employees. The event was in acknowledgement of their contribution to this major national effort.
The Olympic Sports Panorama
In an effort to promote the Olympic spirit, Alpha Bank launched the Alpha Bank Olympic Sports Panorama in July 2001.
The touring event aimed at familiarising the public with more or less known Olympic sports, including baseball, softball, trampoline, badminton, shooting, archery, biking, weightlifting, high jump, fencing and taekwondo.
From July 2001 to June 2004, the Alpha Bank Olympic Sports Panorama toured 75 cities in Greece and Cyprus.
Alpha Bank’s vision for the Panorama was to:
- Raise awareness locally about the Olympic idea and athletic ideals in general.
- Ignite the enthusiasm for the Games in every corner of Greece.
The Olympic Heralds
Alpha Bank also revived the tradition of the Olympic Heralds. In the context of the ancient Olympics, heralds and trumpeters were specially trained and, at some point, even competed like the athletes. Their mission was to travel all over Greece during the month leading to the Games, carrying an olive branch and announcing the Olympic Truce.
The bank revived the heralds tradition by appointing 102 volunteering employees as modern Olympic heralds. The heralds were tasked with communicating the Olympic ideals to their fellow workers and passing on the timeless values of the Olympics so that, like in a relay race, every branch in Greece would have its own herald in the end.
This initiative was inspired by Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), founder of the International Olympic Committee and father of the modern Olympic Games.