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ADVERTISERS AIM TO RISE ABOVE THE OLYMPIC CLUTTER W/TV SPOTS
Published February 5, 1998
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).