The ads feature images of athletes from around the world dressed in their local garb interspersed with shots of AT&T's Global Olympic Village-a shrine to AT&T technology in the heart of Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Included in the ads are Chinese dancers, Spanish matadors and American cowboys.
"Our advertising efforts are focused on representing the diversity and globality of the Olympic experience," said George Burnett, AT&T VP-marketing services. "Cultural athletes symbolize the world coming together and AT&T plays a role in bringing those people together."
Created by BBDO Worldwide, New York, the campaign also features world-beat renditions of the classic Ray Charles tune "Georgia on My Mind," with the tagline "When people communicate, great things happen."
In addition to network and cable TV buys, AT&T is promoting its "cultural athlete" spots as teasers on 6,000 movie screens across the country in late June.
46 MILLION FSIs
With help from promotion agency Dugan Valva Contess, Morristown, N.J., AT&T will distribute about 46 million 24-page free-standing inserts in Sunday newspapers nationwide beginning next week. The inserts feature AT&T products and services, profiles of Olympic athletes and events and guides to Centennial Olympic Park and the Global Olympic Village.
AT&T plans to launch phase two of its Olympic campaign when the Games begin. Dubbed "No Limits," the next series of spots will be more product-oriented.
A third phase will begin after the Games and will be more image-oriented, playing off the "afterglow" of the Olympics.
Although insiders said the launch of the Olympics campaign was delayed and BBDO had to sell commercial time back to the networks after missing production deadlines, Mr. Burnett insisted the ads are "right on schedule."
"We've been conceptualizing our Olympic marketing efforts for about two years," he said. "We're right where we want to be."
While Mr. Burnett would not comment on speculation that BBDO may play a major role in future corporate advertising for AT&T, he did say, "They've done a fantastic job and we're real proud of their work."