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Volume 20 No. 42


The U.S. Olympic Committee named M&C Saatchi its first public relations agency of record.

M&C Saatchi beat out Weber Shandwick, Ketchum and Edelman’s Matter agency, which all vied for the job in a formal pitch process held late last year. The USOC had worked with all of the agencies before on projects.

“All of them brought really good proposals and strong teams,” said USOC Chief Communications Officer Patrick Sandusky. “M&C Saatchi really did their research. They seemed to know the Olympic space. We think they can really help us.”

In years past, the USOC worked with several public relations agents on a project-by-project basis, but Sandusky decided that he wanted to hire a single agency to work with in the future. He hopes that by doing so the organization can skip the learning process that each agency worked through on projects in the past and have a single partner that’s proactive in promoting the USOC.

Sandusky said the USOC’s budget for public relations support won’t change. It spent $79,739 on advertising and promotion in 2011, according to its most recent tax filings.

M&C Saatchi will work on major USOC events like the organization’s 100-day-out celebration for the 2014 Sochi Games and its 2014 Olympics media summit. It also will be tasked with promoting the USOC’s national fundraising efforts and publicizing how Americans can make donations that help send Team USA athletes to the Olympics.

Sandra Carreon-John, M&C Saatchi’s senior vice president, and Rich Barker, the agency’s vice president, will lead the USOC business. Carreon-John has been with the agency for five years and previously worked in communications at MSG Sports, ESPN and the NHL. Barker recently relocated from the agency’s London office to New York.

The USOC last year worked with M&C Saatchi’s London office on its “Thank You Britain” campaign, which was designed to introduce Team USA athletes to the British media and public prior to the London Games. Sandusky credited the work the agency did with helping make Team USA a “second home team” in London.

M&C Saatchi has 20 public relations employees in New York. It also has staff in London, Sydney, Berlin and South Africa. The agency’s New York office works in sports with Reebok, Ugg Australia, CCM and Castrol.

Kellogg’s plans to make skiing and snowboarding a focus of its Olympic marketing efforts ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games.

The U.S. Olympic Committee sponsor recently signed a 16-month agreement with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association that makes its Kellogg’s brand the official breakfast nutrition partner of the U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding teams. It primarily will use the sponsorship to promote its Pop Tarts brand.

The deal gives Kellogg’s on-site signage at USSA Grand Prix events, 25 commercials on NBC and 20 commercials on NBC Sports Network. Financial terms weren’t available.

It is Kellogg’s first deal with a winter national governing body. It sponsored USA Gymnastics prior to the 2012 London Games.

“We really felt good about what USSA had to offer, and its potential,” said Sandy Uridge, Kellogg’s senior director, integrated consumer promotions. “Pop Tarts in recent months has refocused their brand on building the teen consumer base, and if you look at the member fan data base of the USSA, over 50 percent of it is teens. We really feel good about that, and some of those sports like snowboarding and freeskiing really appeal to that fan base and offer a great way for us to engage consumers.”

Kellogg’s plans to complement the USSA sponsorship by endorsing at least one skier or snowboarder. It hopes to finalize those agreements in the next month or two.

Uridge said Kellogg’s will have other brands involved in its Olympic marketing for the Sochi Games. It is still finalizing those plans. She said the organization may partner with other winter national governing bodies, too.

USSA Chief Marketing Officer Mike Jaquet, who joined the organization last year, wanted to add USOC sponsors ahead of Sochi. USSA has 24 sponsors, but the majority aren’t USOC sponsors, and Olympic rules prevent them from promoting their affiliation with the team during a Winter Games. USOC sponsors such as Visa and Kellogg’s can promote the ski and snowboard team and its athletes during the Games, and Jaquet believes that can raise the visibility of the sport.

“We want to push USSA athletes in national broadcast campaigns,” Jaquet said. “If we can do some things that stick out with Visa and Kellogg’s, then that’s going to hopefully send more USOC sponsors to me and make the team more recognizable.”

Kellogg’s is working with Krispr, a new division of Edelman, on its Olympic marketing. The public relations agency assisted on the USSA deal.