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After moving away from sports sponsorships in the '80s, Avon Products is back with a $20 million investment in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.

That includes a $10 million fee to be the official cosmetics, skincare and fragrance sponsor in the U.S., plus another $10 million in support of a mix of products, advertising and events associated with the Games.

Among the Olympics-sponsorship brands are Skin So Soft Suncare Plus, to carry the Olympics logo; an official women's and men's fragrance line; and new women's and men's toiletries called Pro Fitness. Pro Fitness' launch will coincide with the Olympics.


Avon is spending $30 million this year on an umbrella campaign breaking today, with $6 million of that total devoted to the Olympic effort.

The push from N.W. Ayer & Partners, New York, includes 15-and 30-second spots on ABC and CBS programming. The TV will be followed in March by a print campaign kicking off with an eight-page insert in 15 magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, a new buy for Avon.

The Olympics advertising features Olympic athletes like track and field medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee and marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, said Andrea Jung, president of Avon's product marketing group.

The umbrella campaign and the Olympics-devoted portion will bring back the notion of an Avon Lady, but redefined and presented with the theme, "Just another Avon Lady."

The campaign is intended to "invest in the equity that we are so proud of and reach not just current Avon customers but new audiences too," said Ms. Jung.

"We developed a continuity campaign we never had before," said Russ Hardin, VP-creative agency/advertising.

The initial insert in February breaks well before Avon's core Olympics advertising, spotlighting Olympic synchronized swimmer Becky Dyroen-Lancer along with a mother of three and a fourth grader, all users of Avon products.

At the end of April, Avon will mail out its regular sales brochure touting its "Achieve the Dream" Olympics sweepstakes to 15 million customers and 10 million prospects.


The ad theme also will be put to work at the grassroots level with a national sponsorship of "Go for Your Goals Girls Sports Clinics" targeted at high-school students.

If the Olympics tie-in proves effective, said Carolyn Aishton, Avon's director of Olympics sponsorships, there may be more sports sponsorships.

"We would look to do things in sports with an umbrella program impact, whether it would be a future Olympics or another sports event," she said.

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