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).
The IOC has "completed its investigation of bribery
charges" involving Salt Lake City's 2002 Olympic bid and "is
ready to expel members when the report is released" on
January 24, according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE
TRIBUNE. The AP is reporting that "at least" eight IOC
members "are in danger of being expelled when investigation
details are released." The SLOC's ethics panel is "not
finished with its probe" and no timetable has been announced
as to when it will be completed (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/13).
STEP FORWARD? In Denver, Bruce Finley reports that the
IOC report is also expected to include recommendations to
change the bidding process for the Games. This had USOC
"leaders confident, for the moment, that they are moving
beyond a potentially devastating ethical blotch." In
addition, the USOC announced that it is going to "increase
oversight" of U.S. cities competing for the Games. USOC
President Bill Hybl: "It's possible that the USOC would even
place a USOC staff member on the staff of the bid committee"
(DENVER POST, 1/13). Hybl: "Will future bid cities see more
of the USOC? The answer is yes" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/13).
WALK WITH JUAN: The bribery scandal led ABC's "World
News Tonight," with Peter Jennings reporting that it is
"seriously undermining the next Winter Olympic Games. ...
Every day, the Olympics and some of the people who run them
are under attack." UT Gov. Mike Leavitt: "The IOC needs to
come to the table here. They need to participate in a
bigger way now in ensuring that these Games are successful.
... In every way." ABC's Tom Foreman said the IOC has
"shown no inclination to kick in more funding or renegotiate
with sponsors" ("World News Tonight," ABC, 1/12). Despite
some calls for the resignation of IOC President Juan Antonio
Samaranch, IOC Exec VP Anita DeFrantz told USA TODAY's Mike
Dodd that Samaranch is "a good president and has done an
excellent job for the Olympics. He should and will stay in
office until he concludes his mandate in 2001" (USA TODAY,
1/13). IOC Exec VP Dick Pound said the Games will remain in
Salt Lake City: "Salt Lake has cleaned house and the IOC is
cleaning house" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/13).
MASCOTS ARE PEOPLE, TOO, AREN'T THEY? Due to the
negative publicity around the 2002 Games, the SLOC has
postponed its February 8 unveiling of the new mascots for
the Games. A new date will be announced next month. SLOC
Senior VP/Communications Shelley Thomas: "This is not the
appropriate time. Our mascots should receive the positive
attention they deserve" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/13).