GM Plans Ads During 2002 Olympics
DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. is moving ahead with plans to use the Olympics as a marketing platform to boost its slumping U.S. market share.
This is despite revelations that Salt Lake City officials bribed members of the International Olympic Committee. The controversy surrounding the games has driven some sponsors, including Johnson & Johnson, away.
``We haven’t seen anything on the horizon that devalues the Olympics,″ Phil Guarascio, GM’s vice-president for advertising and corporate marketing, told The Detroit News for a story published Friday. ``Our original vision to use the Olympics as a marketing platform is still valid.″
GM signed a $1 billion pact in July 1997 to become the official car and truck of the U.S. Olympic Committee and 41 governing sports groups through the 2008 Olympic games.
For now, GM will concentrate its Olympic marketing and sponsorship support on teams and athletes. The automaker plans to unveil details of its latest Olympic-themed television and print advertising on May 11.
The ad campaign will open this summer, 18 months before the 2000 summer games in Sydney. The bulk of GM’s spending will be for commercials on NBC Sports.
GM’s Oldsmobile and Chevrolet divisions plan to use Olympic magic to boost their image.
Oldsmobile disclosed plans Thursday to provide more than $1 million in prize money to sponsor nine beach volleyball tournaments starting in May. Beginning in 2000, the Olympic rings will be featured in Oldsmobile advertising.
``The games are an important springboard to reinvent Oldsmobile,″ Michael Sands, advertising and sales promotion director for the Oldsmobile Alero, told the News.
Last month, Chevrolet extended its sponsorship of the U.S. Ski, Snowboard and Hockey Olympic teams through 2004, and is negotiating to extend its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic figure skating team.
``Our focus is on what we feel will endure _ the athletes and competition that will unfold on the rink and on the slope,″ said Mac Whisner, Chevrolet’s director of truck advertising and promotion.