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The Atlanta City Council voted yesterday to begin a mass marketing campaign for the '96 Games. The Atlanta Economic Development Corp. will oversee the city's strategy and hire a consultant to work on the project. The marketing decision was based on recommendations of Munson Steed, a friend of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell's, who said the city could make as much as $9M by charging Olympic sponsors $1M to vend on the street, creating vending sites and charging $1,000 for vending licenses, and have one sole supplier for vendors who want to sell the city's merchandise (Lyle Harris, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/21). STATE DISCUSSES SPONSORSHIP: Some GA state officials want the state to become an official sponsor of the Games, believing it would be "a strong marketing tool" in the upcoming $8M advertising campaign. Gov. Zell Miller said "he is thinking about" the idea, but ACOG officials say they want to "see something official from the state before" responding (Ken Foskett, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/18).
Producers of the Olympic Collectible lapel pins blame ACOG for creating a surplus of the item, according to this week's BUSINESS WEEK. ACOG licensed four companies, charging as much as $3.5M each and "then setting no cap on production numbers." Critics say the high fees "mean that licensees must crank out the pins to make back their money." Donald Bigsby, President of Olympic Collectors Club: "You can't mass produce collectibles" (David Greising, BUSINESS WEEK, 3/27 issue)....Group II Communications has been awarded a special marketing contract by ACOG. Group II will be responsible for developing interactive youth programs and products (Group II)....Xerox has selected William Kostka & Associates to handle public relations during the '95 Olympic Festival in Denver this summer in connection with its sponsorship of the '96 Games (DENVER POST, 3/20)....ACOG and Stadium construction officials "refused to speculate how the accident" that killed a stadium worker yesterday will affect the construction schedule for the Olympic Stadium (Michelle Hiskey, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/21).
One in five households, or 20 million Americans have "expressed an interest" to attend the '96 Games, according to a NEWSWEEK profile of ACOG's ticket campaign which kicked off last week with plans to put a majority of the 11 million tickets into "the hands of American fans." ACOG's Dir of Games Service Scott Anderson says tickets are "plentiful, easy to buy, and affordable." NEWSWEEK notes that even after doling out tickets to sponsors and other VIPs, the size of the venues in Atlanta will leave about 7-8 million tickets available (Starr & Smith, NEWSWEEK, 3/27 issue).
Visa will work with three Southeast banks for the "most ambitious launch" yet of a "smart card" in time for the '96 Games. A smart card looks like a credit card, but is an "electronic purse that holds electronic cash." When the purse is empty, the card cannot be used. Working with Visa will be NationsBank, First Union and Wachovia. They hope to sign up "thousands of merchants" where the card can be used all over Atlanta; all Olympic venues will be wired for the cards. First Union will have about 5,000 merchant locations in operation in Atlanta by '96, and then introduce the card to other cities in '97. Visa said the Games "are the perfect locale to trot out" the card, because of the large international audience. Smart cards are already popular in Europe (Martha Brannigan, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/21).