Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rings Go Better With Coke!

For 80 years, The Coca-Cola Company has been a sponsor or supplier of the Olympics. Today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution includes a feature on Big Red's activation plans for Beijing, and even delves into their future work for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

My earliest Olympic soda memory dates back to the summer of 1984. The cross-country Olympic Torch Relay passed through my hometown of Edmond, Okla., and a few weeks later the Opening Ceremonies broadcast from L.A. was narrated by Jim McKay on ABC (with the greatest card trick of all time). And sometime that summer we discovered that Coke was marketing its Olympic participation with special 12 oz. glass bottles on which Sam The Olympic Eagle mascot was waving -- I think one of those bottles went on to become our family's "last 'original formula' bottle" until New Coke came and went away a couple of years later.

The big soda company also took Olympic pin collecting to a new plateau at the Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, in 1988, with what I understand was their first Olympic Pin Trading tent (a program replicated at most, if not all, of the Games since). They even had "Coke Olympic City" in downtown Atlanta in 1996 (now site of the new World of Check-Out-Our-120-Years-of-Advertising Museum beside the Georgia Aquarium).

I don't play favorites when it comes to soda -- most major, and sometimes regional, brands are often inside my refrigerator (at this very moment I'm drinking a delicious cola with a five-letter name that starts with "P" and sort-of rhymes with "Dizzy Gillespie" -- a client of the firm where I work) . If someone could just come up with official Olympic root beer (like this one), I'd be set.

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