GM Signs Olympic Agreement

General Motors’ multiyear Olympic sponsorship deal offers significant marketing opportunities for all its car and truck brands, according to a top GM marketing official.
But it does not mean an immediate windfall for GM’s agencies, said Phil Guarascio, vice president and general manager of GM North American Operations marketing and advertising.
GM, NBC and the U.S. Olympic Committee announced the event sponsorship agreement last week. The extended deal represents a multimillion dollar investment with the U.S. Olympic Committee and NBC Sports, designating GM as the official domestic car and truck of the U.S. Olympic Team through 2008. GM, NBC and the committee declined to comment on the terms of the agreement, but estimates run as high as $1 billion.
The contract entitles GM, its divisions and subsidiaries the use of the Olympic rings and logos in all marketing efforts. GM’s partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee begins during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, to be broadcast by CBS. The automaker’s deal with NBC starts with the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
The long-term deal is a much better value for GM and the amount of the ad budget spent on the individual upcoming Olympic games will actually be smaller than what GM spent on last year’s games in Atlanta, Guarascio said.
“This isn’t an ad buy; it’s a marketing buy,” he said. GM EventWorks, the automaker’s newly formed sports and entertainment marketing group, managed jointly by Interpublic Group and Kaleidoscope Media Group, both in New York, will help orchestrate marketing programs for the divisions and their agencies, he said.
But if GM’s agencies automatically assume it will simply mean more ad spending, they’re approaching their task incorrectly, Guarascio said. “This is not ‘Show me the money,’ ” he said. “It’s ‘Show me the ideas, show me the strategy, show me the execution.’ Then the money will come.”