SBD/January 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Time To Shine: AT&T Set To Debut Sochi Ads Focusing On "Less-Heralded" Athletes

AT&T is "focusing on the less-heralded athletes" of the Sochi Games in the "It's Our Time" campaign, which debuts its first spot on Monday during NBC's "Today," according to Beth Snyder Bulik of AD AGE. The spot features skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace "lifting weights in her home basement, feeding her kids, watching them play soccer, and then later saying good-night via video before she jumps onto her sled for a late-night training run." BBDO, N.Y., created the campaign. AT&T VP/Brand Management & Advertising Rudy Wilson said, "These aren't made-up stories, these are real stories about sacrifice and determination and how they made it." BBDO Chair & Chief Creative Officer David Lubars said, "These are the less-famous athletes who do what they have to do in real life, but also train hard. They're athletes trying to make their mark." Other athletes who will be "featured in the four TV spots" include alpine snowboarder Justin Reider, short-track speed skater Alyson Dudek and Paralympic alpine skier Heath Calhoun. In each, "some type of AT&T-enabled communications plays a support role" (, 1/28).

SOCIAL ISSUES? In N.Y., Stuart Elliott reports Coca-Cola, McDonald's and other big advertisers for the past week have been "having to fend off gay rights activists who have hijacked their Olympic promotions on social media." The "tug of war involving McDonald’s began Jan. 21 when the company introduced on its Twitter feed a hashtag, #CheersToSochi." Activists who have been protesting a Russia law against homosexual propaganda "filled Twitter with posts that used the hashtag for their own purposes." The "hijacking then spread to other sponsors of the Winter Games, most notably Coca-Cola" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/28).
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