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).