Ad rates go out of whack, TV programming schedules fly out the door, marketers spend millions on flashy promotions and presidential candidates turn into media machines.
Add interactivity into the mix and watch the whole cauldron boil over.
The U.S. hasn't seen an election/Olympics year since 1992, well before the Internet and the information highway were part of our lingo.
Now, nearly every Olympic sponsor has a Web site touting its association with the Atlanta Games.
Now, we no longer need Ross Perot to turn the presidential election process upside down.
Thanks to the Internet, candidates have a platform extraordinaire to present their views, solicit donations and keep in touch with campaign workers nationwide. And their Web sites are some of the savviest we've seen.
Mr. Perot's infomercial-style campaign ads from 1992 will no doubt be replaced this year by real-time, Internetwide face-offs that will gather candidates on all locations of the campaign trail into one giant techno-fest.
And the Olympics, always a proving ground for new technologies, will harness the power of interactive media to transform Atlanta into a multimedia won-derland.
Visa will test its smart-card technology and AT&T will build a techno-fantastic village. Perennial sponsor IBM will offer real-time results from competitions. And NBC could even broadcast video via the Net.
1996 will be a banner year for interactive marketing, a year that will truly test the ability of Web sites, online services and even interactive TV to hold consumer attention and, even more importantly, get them to open their wallets.
Just how big an impact the election and the Olympics will have on consumer acceptance remains to be seen. But with candidates hot on the interactive campaign trail and an Olympic Web site already nearly a year old, there's no escaping it.