SBD/Issue 204/Olympics

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  • Hilton Hotels To Activate USOC Sponsorship With New TV Spot

    Watch TV Spot From Hilton's Olympic Campaign
    USOC sponsor Hilton Hotels Corp. is "putting down big money on an integrated umbrella campaign -- including TV and Olympic sponsorship -- for its nine brands," according to Mike Beirne of BRANDWEEK. Part of the $15M initiative, via DraftFCB, S.F., will be a "new spot airing during" the Beijing Games. The spot "shows scenes of camaraderie among co-workers, teammates, war veterans and other relationships to suggest that the term 'family' transcends biological relationships and that Hilton welcomes different types of families as its guests." The ad will air on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC and will appear in online video recaps of the Games on Print ads in national newspapers will support. Hilton Senior VP/Brand Management Jeffrey Diskin said, "Part of this campaign is for the world to know that we are a sponsor. People presume that an Olympic sponsor is a category leader." Hilton has already activated its USOC sponsorship by "remodeling rooms" at the U.S. Olympic team's training facility in Colorado Springs. Hilton also has "developed a curriculum for athletes to help them understand" the Chinese language (, 7/11).

    CHECKING OUT: In Chicago, Lewis Lazare writes Hilton has "made the ill-advised decision to debut a commercial in black and white for one of the most colorful events in all of sports." The ad, which is titled "Olympics," features "mostly a series of still photographs that don't do a very good job of conveying the energy and action" of the Olympics (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/14).

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  • Reebok Banks On Yao's Return At Olympics To Boost China Sales

    Reebok This Week To Unveil
    Limited-Edition Yao Ming Sneaker
    Reebok tomorrow at some of its 800 stores in China will unveil a limited-edition Yao Ming sneaker, "ratcheting up a series of promotions in the brand's largest campaign ever," according to a front-page piece by Jenn Abelson of the BOSTON GLOBE. The campaign includes billboards and TV ads, as well as a fan Web site dedicated to Yao and the "distribution ... of Yao merchandise to universities across the country." Additionally, five fans in several weeks will get "coveted seats to see Yao" at this summer's Beijing Games as part of a sweepstakes Reebok sponsored. Abelson noted the question for Reebok is whether Yao is "big enough to overcome the head start Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and others already have in this vast and fast-growing market of 1.3 billion consumers." While Nike and adidas in recent years "spent heavily" in China, Reebok instead "focused on the [U.K.] and North America for growth." Reebok officials "grudgingly accept that they face an uphill battle as they kick their Yao blitz into high gear." Reebok Asia Pacific VP/Marketing & Sales Dave Mischler: "Adidas and Nike are far ahead. We're trying to just get some real clear ownership in the second tier of brands." And Shanghai-based Zou Marketing senior consultant Frank Sha noted other brands have "put a lot more money and media buying behind Yao and Reebok is somewhat late to the game." Reebok sees capitalizing on Yao's return from a foot injury at the Beijing Games as its "best opportunity to position itself as a popular premium brand in a market of huge potential." Reebok in China is "opening a store every two days and the business plan calls for more than 1,300 shops over the next four years." Reebok also is "dedicating about 14[%] of its revenue to marketing in China, above the 10[%] industry average." Abelson noted adidas has "pressured Reebok to improve its performance in China," as under adidas' direction, Reebok "took its brand back from distributors and closed about 400 underperforming shops." adidas also has "pushed Reebok to trim its large roster of athletes and build its advertising around a few key figures," including Red Sox DH David Ortiz and FC Barcelona F Thierry Henry (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/13).

    Watch adidas Spot Featuring Hu Jia

    COMPETITORS: The GULF NEWS' Maggie Rauch reports adidas' Olympic theme, "Together in 2008: Impossible is Nothing," plays on "national pride and collective spirit." The campaign features athletes including China diver Hu Jia and China men’s national soccer team MF Zheng Zhi "performing with the aide of a sea of enthusiastic fans." The TV ads are "animated in slow motion and the billboard images are painted with a light stroke." Meanwhile, Nike has taken a "fiercely individualistic approach," as its "Who are you?" ads feature "close-up shots of Chinese athletes with their game faces on." An ad featuring Nets and China men's basketball team F Yi Jianlian reads, "I am a fighter. Who are you?" Nike's campaign "draws heavily on the celebrity of two of the country's most famous athletes," Yi and hurdler Liu Xiang. Nike also is using its "deals with national federations in various sports to gain access to Olympians." Rauch notes visitors to Beijing in August will see "plenty of the Nike logo as they pass several Nike stores along Chang'an Avenue" (GULF NEWS, 7/14).

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  • TBWA Worldwide Under Fire In China Over Amnesty Int'l Campaign

    TBWA Catching Heat In China
    Over Latest Amnesty Int'l Campaign
    Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide in recent weeks has "been working on both sides of China's global image," and the ad agency "could face a backlash in China" as a result of one of its campaigns, according to Fowler, Vranica & Ye of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. TBWA has been running a campaign on behalf of adidas ahead of next month's Beijing Games "focused on Chinese pride, showing Chinese athletes supported by throngs of fans," but the agency's Paris office at the same time has been "working on another ad campaign on behalf of Amnesty International that showed Chinese athletes being tortured by Chinese authorities." In one Amnesty print ad, a person has "been attached to a target normally used in the shooting competition at the Games," which reads, "After the Olympic Games, the fight for human rights must go on." Chinese bloggers now are "calling for a boycott of all TBWA ads, among other measures." Amnesty's London HQs "decided weeks ago to spike the ads from its Olympics campaign, which is focusing more on positive change that might come from the Games." TBWA CEO Tom Carroll said that the agency's N.Y. HQs "wasn't aware of the campaign." Carroll: "Had TBWA management known about this ad ... it would not have been produced." Fowler, Vranica & Ye note the conflict comes "at a delicate time for TBWA," as the agency is "competing for renewed business" from IOC TOP sponsor Visa. And while TBWA's relationship with Amnesty "has been fruitful for the agency in terms of publicity and honors," a source indicated the relationship is "now under discussion" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14).

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  • USOC Reaches Deal With SCI To Provide Sponsors Video Services

    The USOC finalized a contract with Chicago-based SCI Television Productions that will see the company provide USOC sponsors with full video production services during the Beijing Games. For a fee, sponsors can use the company for services such as on-location taping and editing, video news releases and production of satellite media tours. Sponsors will pay fees for those services. It marks the first time the USOC has hired a company to work with corporate partners at the Games. A spokesperson said that the rise in satellite media tours and video publicity by sponsors was the catalyst for hiring SCI.

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