Let The Jokes Begin: It Couldn’t Have Happened To A Nicer Mega-Event Let us salute the alleged bribe takers and bribe givers who’ve drawn the Olympics into scandal. Leaving a trail of evidence a mile wide, these bumblers have revived the Games’ amateur spirit. Professional crooks would have been more circumspect. No wonder the scandal is more exciting than the sports events have become. People who’d stopped caring about the 60-meter hop-skip-and-a-jump are energetically denouncing the Games’ officialdom. In a CNN Interactive poll, for instance, 81 percent said they’ve “lost faith in the Olympic movement.” When The New York Times runs an irate editorial under the headline “Fire the Olympic Patriarch,” one visualizes Juan Antonio Samaranch being set aflame with the Olympic torch. And it didn’t take long for critics to trace a genealogical line between surreptitious bribes and highly visible sponsorships. Writing for the Internet version of MSNBC, one commentator said corporate tie-ins had “sent a message that the Games are for sale. Shouldn’t it also figure that the men who stage the Games are for sale as well?” Far from jettisoning sponsors, though, the Olympic bureaucracy is intent on assuaging them now that, as Newsweek put it, they’re “suddenly as wary as deer in hunting season.” The problem isn’t that consumers will blame sponsors for corrupting the Games. It’s that a scandal of this sort invites ridicule, which people will shower on any target in sight. Then again, after enduring so many pompous statements of corporate pride, people might enjoy commercials that say a company is “mildly embarrassed to be an official sponsor of the Olympic Games.” Superbowling Alone? National No-Zap Day It’s the ultimate accolade: According to a nationwide survey by Baltimore-based Eisner & Associates, more people looked forward to seeing the Super Bowl commercials (37 percent) than to seeing how Cher would dress to sing the pre-game national anthem (21 percent). A grumpy 32 percent looked forward to neither spectacle. Seven percent of respondents to the survey (conducted after the league championships) planned on watching the telecast “just to see the ads”; 35 percent expected to “discuss specific commercials” the day after the game. Despite Super Sunday’s reputation as a coast-to-coast party, the number expecting to host or attend a Bowl party (7 percent) or to watch at a bar/restaurant (3 percent) was exceeded by the number expecting to watch alone at home (19 percent). I Need A New Drug: Take 2 Aspirin And Read Another Ad In The A.M. Do doctors feel like taking a sedative whenever they see an ad that urges consumers to “ask your physician” about a prescription drug? So one suspects. But a survey of consumers age 50 and over suggests the doctors sustain a forbearing bedside manner in the face of such requests. In all, 35 percent of respondents said they have asked their doctor about a prescription drug they saw in a direct-to-consumer ad. And as you can see in the chart, summarizing data from Emeryville, Calif.-based Age Wave Impact, the doctors often prescribed the drug in question. Do people feel “uncomfortable” asking doctors about drugs they’ve seen in such ads? Eleven percent agreed “strongly” that they do, and another 8 percent agreed “somewhat.” But among those who have initiated such conversations, only 3 percent felt it had a “negative effect” on their relationship with their doctor–though 7 percent said the doctor did seem “irritated that I asked.” On the plus side, 23 percent felt the discussion yielded an improvement in the relationship, while 74 percent saw no change one way or another. Happy New Year: Adding Up Adweek’s Classified Ads For Jobs Nothing like a new year to loosen up budgets. After limping through the last couple months of 1998, the market for jobs in advertising, marketing and media came back to life last month, judging by the volume of help-wanted ads running in Adweek. Indeed, the third issue of the month had the most classified linage in recorded history.