Magazine article ADWEEK

Saatchi's Global Ads Dissect Olympic Spirit: Cultural Icons Reflect on Broader Meaning of Games in Shop's First Work for IOC

Magazine article ADWEEK

Saatchi's Global Ads Dissect Olympic Spirit: Cultural Icons Reflect on Broader Meaning of Games in Shop's First Work for IOC

Article excerpt

NEWYORK Christopher Reeve, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan are among the iconic figures who serve as brand ambassadors in Saatchi & Saatchi's first work for the International Olympic Committee--a global splash for this summer's Olympic Games in Athens.

Four TV spots were sent last week to networks around the world that will air the Games, which begin Aug. 13. A fifth spot, featuring Annan, the United Nations secretary general, will be shot in New York this week. The campaign also includes four print ads.

The tagline, "Celebrate humanity," carries over from the work of previous shop TBWA Worldwide, but Saatchi presents it in a cursive typeface that evokes a more personal touch. "The purpose of the spots is to promote the spirit of the Olympics. The sport is the medium, but it's not necessarily the message," said Tod Seisser, chief creative officer at Saatchi in New York.

The ads will run in up to 200 countries, said Bob McKinnon, director of new-business development at Saatchi who manages the IOC account. The networks run them as part of their contracts to carry the Games; were the media paid, it would be worth some $100 million globally, sources said.

Each spot begins with a shot of the Olympic rings against a white backdrop and segues into a montage of Olympic action married to original music and a voiceover. Toward the end of each ad, the source of the voice is revealed with a shot of the famous figure. The spots end as they begin, with the rings, this time accompanied by the tag and www.olympic.org address.

In "Heart," Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli marvels at a gymnast who has the "reflexes of a cat" and swimmers who have the "kick of a dolphin," yet concludes (over an image of Muhammed Ali), "You will not have greatness until you understand that the strongest muscle is the heart. …

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