SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2007/This Weeks News

USOC sums up the journey ahead in ‘Amazing Awaits’

Olympians often prepare a lifetime for one moment, and the U.S. Olympic Committee’s new tag line — “Amazing Awaits” — seeks to embody that journey.

The slogan, which will become the foundation for the USOC’s future brand positioning, was designed to appeal to young Americans but also resonate with corporate partners and national governing bodies, said John Pierce, the USOC’s director of research and brand management.

“It’s about the journey and how the journey parallels the American ideal that who you are at birth does not determine who you are later in life,” Pierce said.

“‘Amazing Awaits’ the 8-year-old boy lacing his skates for the first time or the 11-year-old girl looking down the diving board for the first time as much as it does (Olympic champion sprinter) Jeremy Wariner seconds before he leaves the starting block.”

The phrase was developed over the last three months with the help of advertising firm mcgarrybowen. It has been shown to sponsors, athletes and national governing bodies during the last three weeks and will be revealed to the public in August with a series of TV, online and print advertisements designed by
mcgarrybowen.

The USOC held a number of focus-group conversations with teens and young adults last fall that helped determine the slogan. Those conversations, which were arranged by CAA’s Intelligence Group, indicated that young adults identified with Olympians’ journeys, Pierce said.

“They get that (Olympians) are making money and they’re not true amateurs, but because their income is so modest compared to traditional professional athletes, young adults think an Olympic athlete’s ability to train 15 years for one moment is very cool and admirable,” he added.

Sponsors and NGBs have reacted positively to the slogan and both are being encouraged to use it in their own marketing.

Many corporate partners have focused on the idea of the Olympic journey in their own advertising in the past and see the new slogan strengthening their own Olympic messages in the future.

“It does a better job of catching the overall essence of the Olympics,” said Craig Auerbach, Bank of America’s Olympic platform executive. “That journey — the ups and downs and struggles — is amazing and is something we’ve tried to emphasize as well.”

The USOC is optimistic that sponsors will use the slogan in their own marketing. Though “Amazing Awaits” likely won’t replace slogans like “Just Do It” or “Life Takes Visa” in their Olympic advertising, sponsors say, the same theme might.

“You may not see the words ‘Amazing Awaits,’” Auerbach said, “but the essence of that brand positioning and how it can find its way into our programs is likely going to be manifested in what we do.”

“Amazing Awaits” replaces the USOC’s previous slogans of “The U.S. Olympic team, 300 million strong” and “It’s not every four years, it’s every day.” Those were used ahead of Athens in 2004 and Sydney in 2000, respectively.

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