GSD&M in U.S. Olympians’ Corner

USOC Awards Texans TV, Print Role in First National Image Effort
DALLAS-GSD&M of Austin, Texas, was tapped last week by the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., to front its first national image campaign.
Set for both print and television executions, the work will highlight the organization’s mission to support U.S. athletes, and in turn, perhaps right an Olympic image tarnished by the bribery scandal surrounding the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
Billings and the USOC’s marketing budget were undisclosed. USOC paid media advertising spending was minimal in 1998 ($373,000). It is unclear whether these ads would involve paid media or a mix of bartered and trade placements.
A time schedule has not been finalized, although print ads are to appear first-possibly by June.
GSD&M said the USOC assignment would be consumer focused, but conceded the work could possibly provide ancillary positive effects for corporate sponsors leery of the Games’ recently muddied name.
“We have a great story to tell,” said GSD&M president Roy Spence in a statement. “[We] will commit our time and talent to insure that Americans get behind our athletes in their quest to compete with the best of the world.”
The USOC has been considering this move for a year, but conceded the Salt Lake City scandal “heightened the need for a campaign,” according to GSD&M. The USOC is not involved in the site selection process, other than to support a U.S. bid that reaches the finalist stage.
USOC apparently had informal talks with several undisclosed shops, and chose GSD&M based on its creative reputation. The committee had to avoid conflicts of interest with agencies that had corporate Olympic sponsors on their roster.
The review, headed by USOC director of marketing and brand development Gordon Kane, is unrelated to a $150 million search recently undertaken by the International Olympic Committee.
It was unclear what role incoming deputy executive marketing director David Ogrean would have in the campaign efforts. Ogrean is replacing 13-year USOC executive John Krimsky, whose primary role was sports marketing and fundraising.
The USOC recently selected International Management Group of Cleveland to shore up fundraising, which is $300 million short of its goal for the 2002 Olympic Games.
-with Terry Lefton