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IS COCA-COLA'S STRATEGY FOR '96 SUMMER GAMES "PARALYZED"
Published January 24, 1995
The "struggle" to define Coca-Cola's Olympic role in Atlanta -- "how much or how little it should do, how visible or how subtle its presence" -- is examined by Melissa Turner of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The "indecisive" mood of the company has "clearly created an institutional identity crisis." For example, Coca-Cola has bought 12 acres of downtown real estate next to Olympic Park, "but hasn't decided what to do with it." The company has bought $60M worth of ad time during the Games on NBC "but has yet to create any Olympic TV ads." They are contemplating whether to sponsor the $12M Olympic Torch relay, the three-month pre-Olympic tour of the country. The company would like to follow up on its TV sponsorships of the '94 Super Bowl and the World Cup, but "they don't know what to do with it at the Olympics." The company made a switch in its "leadership of the Olympic team" by hiring Stu Cross to run its Olympic program and serve as VP and Dir of Worldwide sports. Overall, the company is investing a "staggering" $200M in sponsorship fees, advertising, promotions, and hospitality, and it "must make this record investment pay off." Turner writes the company also faces the difficulty of marketing the Games in Atlanta, "the hometown it has been grooming for decades for this debut on the world stage." Cross admits the challenges, adding: "I don't think any company can possibly live up to every individual expectation" (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/21).