Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Advertisers target Olympic audience

By Samantha Critchell
The Associated Press

The Olympics - and its potentially enormous audience - is too tempting for fashion and beauty companies to pass up.

So, as the world watches Athens and the Games' star athletes (most of whom are wearing rather bland team-issued uniforms), we also will see product-placement galore.

Among them:

• Swatch Group gets the title of official timekeeper of the International Olympic Committee.

The Swatch collection available to the public celebrates Greek history, culture and the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896. Many of the watches are inscribed with Greek letters and words, and some of the bands are formed by a series of symbolic rings.

• Adidas is an official outfitter for the U.S. Olympians, providing awards, training and "Olympic Village" clothes to each American athlete. Adidas also is dressing athletes from 20 other countries.

The company's ClimaCool fabric technology, with moisture-wicking properties and strategically placed ventilation, will be incorporated into the outfits of the U.S. weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing and fencing teams, as well as in their sneakers.

That same technology is used for the logo-covered apparel available to spectators and supporters.

• Reebok is providing uniforms for many different countries and sports.

For the public, Reebok introduces its Gold sneaker collection, with names like Gold Medalist, Vanta, the boxing-inspired Super Knockout and water sport-inspired Splash. The shoes are white with metallic gold accents.

• Blue Marlin incorporates the olive wreath, the highest honor bestowed on Olympic winners by the Greeks, in its logo for its fall collection of activewear.

• Camper offers flip-flops as part of its Twins collection with the insoles of each sandal stamped with a vintage Olympic image.

• The Greek firm Apivita uses many indigenous plant products in its beauty line, Propoline. For example, the Mastic tree thrives only in the southern part of the island of Chios and nowhere else in the world. Mastic is found in Propoline's hand cream, first-aid balm and whitening toothpaste.

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