For TV advertisers, the "risks" of the Winter Olympics "include trying to tug one too many heartstrings, latching onto a few too many Olympic stars, getting mired in cliches or blending in so completely that the product gets lost," according to Harry Berkowitz of NEWSDAY. So "some advertisers are trying to step up the humor, inject some clever twists" and even "play down the Olympic connection." Nike will use poems from high school poets on Olympic themes and athletes. IBM is "using little-known" Olympic athletes in its ads by Ogilvy & Mather "as a way to focus on the company's tracking of events on its Web site." Most of A- B's ads are "unrelated" to the Games. Coca-Cola, as they did in '96, is "focusing on fans" and "stressing" its red label. AT&T and "many advertisers are featuring women prominently," and Nike and AT&T both highlight hockey player Cammi Granato. John Hancock will use "dramatic ads," with one for the Sarajevo Olympic Children's Fund that shows the turmoil there since the '84 Games. One woman says, "We felt like sports has died in Sarajevo" (NEWSDAY, 2/5). NIKE'S LEAVES OF GRASS: In its poem ads created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, poets and high school students to verse on Nike athletes Picabo Street, Cammi Granato and Dawn Staley. One 60-second ad was created for each athlete. Excerpts from the Street poem: "Picabo Street -- That's probably the coolest name in the World. ... [W]hen a champion has that name, It's a whole different kettle of fish. There's all kinds of jazz in a name -- Shakespeare didn't know what he was talking about" (Nike). ...Street was profiled on "ET." Street, on what the Nagano Games mean to her following her silver medal performance in the '94 Lillehammer Games: "This one's the one. This is the big daddy. I'm going to go slay that dragon" ("ET," 2/4).
CBS earned a "disappointing" 4.9/8 rating for its two- hour Olympic preview on Tuesday night, "but the numbers are not expected to be indicative of how the network's upcoming Games coverage will perform," according to Lisa de Moraes of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. "Gateway to Glory" gave CBS one of its "lowest numbers to date in the two-hour block and well below" its 6.6/11 season average. But de Moraes adds that networks "schedule primetime Olympic walkups despite their historically low ratings in order to accommodate overflow Olympic advertising" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 2/5).
Dr. Dave Lewis, who oversees the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse program, said he has "no concerns" about NHL athletes participating in the Games in regards to possibly testing positive for using Sudafed (NHL). The Coyotes' Jeremy Roenick said players will have "no problem," and added, "We have been aware of it this season" (USA TODAY, 2/5)....In San Jose, Mike Guersch examined the NHL's "Big Gamble" of participating in the Olympics: "The outcome of the NHL Olympics experiment won't really be known until the middle of the next decade" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/4). ....While women's ice hockey makes its debut as a medal sport, several "top" Olympians said "they aren't counting on seeing pro paychecks any time soon." Team USA's Sandra Whyte: "Maybe after the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. But right now, we're definitely behind where women's basketball is." U.S. Women's coach Ben Smith: "I'd say we're still a ways away from a successful pro league" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 2/5)....SLOC is "receptive" to proposals to add women's ski jumping and bobsled to the 2002 Games. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said any new sport wishing admission to the Games "must comprise women's events" (USA TODAY, 2/5). NOTES: The FINANCIAL TIMES features a special pull-out section on the Games, with specials on financing the Games, sponsorship, and "the fight to host the games" (FT, 2/5). ...Eastman Kodak "expects its spending" at the Winter Olympics "to cut its earnings per share" by $.05 in the first quarter (REUTERS, 2/5)....Jacques Roggs, "touted by some Olympic insiders as a future candidate" for the presidency of the IOC, has won a seat on the IOC's Executive Board (KYODO NEWS, 2/5)....REUTERS looks at live coverage of the Games on the Web, as sports sites will be "unencumbered by the same time and production constraints" of CBS. CNNSI.com Marketing Dir Hart Hooten: "If you don't want to know what's going on before you watch TV at night, you shouldn't come to the site" (REUTERS, 2/5).