Atlanta Organizers Decry Ads With Olympics Links: Officials Say New Campaigns Fron FLA., Post Office Don't Play Fair

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Olympic officials are crying foul over two recent marketing efforts-one from neighboring Florida and the other from, of all sources, the U.S. Postal Service.

An ad campaign from the Florida Division of Tourism implores Atlantans to "Return to your senses in Florida" before the Summer Olympics begin.

As part of the $261,000 tourism campaign, 60 boards around downtown Atlanta show four outdoor activities, including a stick figure kicking a beach ball. The headline reads, "Our summer games."

TRADEMARK QUESTIONS

Officials at the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games said some of the campaign's images and words violate protected marks, said Darby Coker, ACOG director of communications for marketing.

For instance, the beach ball too closely resembles a trademarked image from the 1972 Olympics, Mr. Coker said.

ACOG officials don't mind the intent of the Florida campaign, Mr. Coker said. It's how the advertising is being done that bothers them.

"It's the Summer Games relationship," he said. "It's obvious those are Olympic pictograms."

Mr. Coker said ACOG executives warned Florida tourism officials about the alleged violations, but that no formal action has been taken-yet.

Executives with the Florida Department of Commerce, which oversees the Division of Tourism, and its agency, Fahlgren Benito, Tampa, said they question some ACOG arguments.

ACOG trademarked "Atlanta 1996" and "The Atlanta Games" but not "Our summer games," said Ginger Watters, senior VP at Fahlgren Benito.

Outdoor boards and TV spots will appear through May, but newspaper advertising will run for the rest of the summer.

HANES AMBUSH?

U.S. Olympic Committee officials are accusing the U.S. Postal Service of ambushing Olympic sponsor Sara Lee Corp.'s Hanes division by licensing Olympic stamp art for T-shirts.

The committee allowed the Postal Service to produce stamps featuring Olympic athletes, but claims the T-shirts are an ambush.

The Postal Service believes it's doing nothing wrong since the T-shirt art doesn't include the Olympic rings or any Olympic wording.

It does include the words "Atlanta" and "USA 96."

"We are licensing what's ours to license: stamp art without the Olympic rings," said a Postal Service spokesman.

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