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Monday, February 10, 2014

Fingers Crossed, Marketers Count on Olympic Gold


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THE many marketers spending an estimated $1 billion to sponsor and advertise during the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are keeping their fingers crossed that the multiple issues threatening to overshadow the Winter Games — whether security, human rights, stray dogs or ramshackle accommodations — will not repel American consumers.

“I can’t do anything other than remain optimistic and hopeful,” said Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer at Century 21, a first-time Olympic sponsor supporting the United States men’s and women’s bobsled and skeleton teams. The company plans to run commercials, created by Red Tettemer O’Connell & Partners, that express its ad theme, “Smarter. Bolder. Faster,” in a new way.

Although “we’re not deaf and blind” to the issues, Ms. Thorne said, “we fully expect our target customer to dial in and watch.” She added that it was possible the various controversies would actually draw more viewers.

Trudy Hardy, vice president for marketing at BMW of North America, said her company was “superexcited” and making “a huge investment” in the Winter Olympics as part of a six-year sponsorship deal with the United States Olympic Committee.

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