Burnett, Samsung Follow Olympic Lead

NEW YORK To light a fire under its advertising efforts during the Olympics, consumer electronics giant Samsung signed Italian skiing legend Alberto Tomba to appear in ads, which debuted during the opening weekend.

The “Samsung Salutes the Olympic Games” TV spot, created by Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Chicago, will air globally throughout the Winter Games. It shows Tomba, who has three gold medals to his credit, running with the Olympic torch. Fans salute him with their illuminated Samsung mobile phones.

The ad mimics the real event, which kicked off the opening ceremony at Stadio Olimpico in Torino, Italy. In a statement, Tomba said, “It was very emotional for me to carry the flame into the stadium at the first Winter Games in my country in 50 years.”

Samsung is a worldwide Olympic partner and presenting sponsor of the Torino 2006 Olympic Torch Relay.

The spot is the first work from the agency since it won the company’s $400 million global account last October.

—Brandweek staff report