SBD/13/Olympics

DAVID V. GOLIATH: D'ALESSANDRO CALLS ON IOC TO EXTEND PROBE

          David D'Alessandro, President & COO of TOP Olympic
     sponsor John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, said that the
     IOC must "extend its investigation of irregular bidding
     practices beyond" Salt Lake City and the 2002 Games,
     according to Jere Longman of the N.Y. TIMES.  D'Alessandro:
     "If they fail to do that and something else comes up, the
     rings won't be tarnished, they'll be broken."  If the IOC
     investigates other games, they "will stay ahead of the
     curve."  But D'Alessandro said, "If they attempt to simply
     line up 12 I.O.C. members and shoot them and think they can
     go back to Switzerland, they're wrong. ... Boardrooms will
     shake if this is mishandled.  That includes NBC's boardroom"
     (N.Y. TIMES, 1/13).  The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Pope, Beatty
     & Fatsis report that the Salt Lake scandal has prompted some
     ad execs "to clamor for ad-price concessions" from NBC. 
     D'Alessandro said he would like a "morals clause" inserted
     in the company's deal "allowing him to renegotiate should
     further scandals emerge or the IOC bungle its own probe." 
     NBC said it is "still solidly" behind the Games, but the net
     has "just decided to pull the Olympic rings off its network
     news shows."  On Friday, the net sent a memo to affils
     telling them that, "until further notice, during network
     news programming the Olympic rings would be removed from the
     NBC logo that appears in the corner of TV screens."  The
     rings will remain on-screen during sports and entertainment
     programming.  On the ad front, NBC spokesperson Maria
     Battaglia said, "There's been absolutely no impact on our
     Olympic advertising, and we don't expect any."  But Starcom
     Media President Bob Brennan said, "I wouldn't buy it now. 
     I'd wait until the last minute and try and get a better
     deal" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/13).
          RESEARCH: D'Alessandro said John Hancock will survey
     consumers to gauge the scandal's impact on the Games.  If
     data shows a turn in public sentiment toward the Games,
     Hancock "might downplay its Olympic ties" (USA TODAY, 1/13).
          NEW BRAND CAMPAIGN: AD AGE's Wayne Friedman reports
     that the IOC is "formulating its most ambitious branding
     campaign ever, a global effort valued" at $150M to promote
     the 2000 Summer Games.  The IOC's GA-based marketing rep,
     Meridian Management, will "draw up a list of creative
     agencies" to "pitch for the campaign."  The IOC will also
     "seek to impose stricter creative standards on Olympic
     sponsors to avoid consumer perception that the Games are
     overcommercialized."  It wants a "say in the way sponsors
     incorporate Olympic ideals, such as unity and fair play." 
     Currently, IOC guidelines "mostly are concerned with the
     size and placement" of the Olympic rings (AD AGE, 1/11).

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