Coke readies team of 70 TV ads for Games

By Published on .

Most to run just once in prime time during Olympics

In an unprecedented display of the power of deep pockets, Coca-Cola Co. will air up to 70 different commercials just once in prime time during the Summer Olympics on NBC.

Coca-Cola Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Zyman "really wants to make Coke's association with the Olympics special, including the commercials," said one insider.

The last time Coke inundated the airwaves with a variety of different spots is when it introduced its "Always" campaign, with commercials produced primarily by Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif. Many of the CAA-created spots will be shown in Coke's cavalcade of commercials.

Coca-Cola paid a hefty $60 million to NBC to buy the non-alcoholic beverage category for the Olympics being staged in its hometown.


The company likely will break four to five spots a night and repeat them during the 17 days of Olympic coverage in other dayparts, according to executives familiar with the plans. Some of these new spots will be repeated after the Olympics.

Most of the spots running during the Games will push Coke's flagship brand, including those using the "For the fans" tagline (AA, March 11). But Coca-Cola will likely use its Olympics commercial time to push a number of its beverages, including Diet Coke, Sprite, PowerAde sports drink and Nestea.

Coke also is tying in a major retail promotion with the Olympics. Point-of-purchase displays declare the season a "Red Hot Olympic Summer." There will be custom 12-packs and 2-liter bottles, and consumers will be able to win bottles of Coke as well as Olympics-related merchandise.


Separately, McDonald's Corp., another Olympics megasponsor, is reviving its "When the U.S. Wins, You Win" promotion for the Atlanta Games.

McDonald's last used that promotion during the 1988 Olympics; it was first used during the 1976 Games and was repeated in 1984 and '88. In 1992, McDonald's ran a different Olympics promotion pushing the basketball Dream Team, and the chain did not run a promotion in conjunction with the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., create Coke's "For the Fans" Olympic spots. Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, is the creative shop for Diet Coke, Sprite, and Coca-Cola Foods' Minute Maid. Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, is the agency for Nestea Cool. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles Fruitopa; McCann-Erickson, Seattle, has PowerAde.

Another major sponsor of the Games, AT&T Corp., is considering running a limited number of real-time spots, according to an executive familiar with the proposal. Such commercials were earlier considered by Coca-Cola (AA, Feb. 5).

The AT&T spots would involve athletes who win medals calling a close relative or friend to share the news.

The executive said this was just one of a number of spots AT&T was considering, and that a final decision had not been reached.

Copyright April 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

Most Popular
In this article: