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Signs Separate Deal With Beijing Organizing Committee

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NEW YORK ( -- Johnson & Johnson has become the latest marketer to get involved with the 2008 Olympic Games in China without having to pay up to $75 million to become a "TOP" partner of the International Olympic Committee.

J&J this morning announced a comprehensive sponsorship with the Olympics that makes the New Brunswick, N.J.-based health-care company the official partner of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the official health-care products sponsor of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy; and official products partner of the United States Olympic Committee. Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries will also become the official products partner of the national Olympic teams of more than 20 countries.

Announcement made in Beijing
But the key part of the deal was its partnership with the 2008 Olympics in China. J&J CEO William Weldon made the announcement in Beijing, where many companies are hoping to gain a foothold in time for the Olympics.

And like blue-ribbon marketers Anheuser-Busch and Volkswagen, J&J did it without having to become a TOP (The Olympic Partners) sponsor of the IOC, which has been reluctant to add to its current roster of 11 TOP sponsorships. Those sponsors pay $50 million to $75 million for at least two Olympic cycles (winter and summer) for the right to use the five rings of the Olympic logo in their marketing.

Burgeoning Chinese market
But many companies have been willing -- some would say eager -- to pay a lesser fee to the Beijing Organizing Committee just for the right to advertise during the Olympics in the burgeoning Chinese market. A-B, for instance, paid an estimated $15 million for Budweiser to be the international beer sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Games.

Either way, this marks one of the first significant investments from a health-care or pharmaceutical company in the Olympics and the first partnership of this magnitude in the 100-plus year history of J&J. The sponsorship will encompass all three of J&J's major business lines -- consumer products, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and diagnostics.

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