Thursday, November 5, 2009

100 Days Out Brings Olympic P.R. Trifecta In

The 100 Days to Vancouver milestone marked a flurry of activity online and in the news. It was refreshing to see the Olympic headlines gaining prominence again in anticipation of the big B.C. party coming soon.

There was a party in my inbox as a handful of public relations agencies/contacts sent over their Olympic wares tied to 100 Days as well.

The first arrival was some detail from Polo Ralph Lauren regarding the newly unveiled Vancouver 2010 Closing Ceremony uniforms to be donned by Team USA in February. There's a complete line of Olympic gear from this official outfitter. According to their news:

"The Closing Ceremony Parade Uniform for both men and women are vintage-inspired and modern in design with a functional cotton fleece pant, a patriotic navy and red wool shawl cardigan, and a newsboy hat adorned with the “Look of the Team” logo adding a distinct feel of American spirit. Underneath the shawl cardigan, the women’s uniform will feature a classic navy ribbed turtleneck while the men’s uniform includes a traditional plaid shirt made of woven flannel. The men’s uniform also boasts a sophisticated tie featuring unique patriotic elements."

Looks good to me. Their nods to the 1932 Winter Games wear at Lake Placid is classy.

Perusing the Polo photos and models/Olympians, both on the Polo media site and on another Olympic blog (this one showing some merchandise that was part of the Rockefeller Center festivities for 100 Days), I must admit the gargantuan horse and rider RL logo was a bit much for my taste (as a Polo customer and fan since fifth grade -- my closet has many casual and semi-formal Ralph Lauren items -- I often wish their high quality and stylish products to be available sans logo).

But the 2010 logos will certainly show up on NBC Olympic broadcasts from Vancouver (remember the whole controversy of Michael Jordan wearing having to cover up his sponsor logos on the medal stand in Barcelona? Will that apply again in 2010?).

Sidebar: One of my uncles works in a movie set and design operation in Texas, and at one point in the late 1980/early 1990s he visited one or more of Mr. Lifschitz's (Ralph's) homes to complete some design work. Will have to check the facts on this family lore before revisiting the Ralph connection again in the future.

Next to arrive in the inbox was a nice note from the P.R. team for McDonald's, reminding me of their 2010 Vancouver Olympic contest for kids (just wrapped up entry phase) and the company's extended timeline of Olympic involvement. Per the press site:
"McDonald's Olympic Pride continues to shine throughout the host country of Canada and throughout the world. McDonald's is preparing for its eighth Games as the Official Restaurant and feeding the athletes. Plans are in place to share the excitement of the Games with millions of customers across the globe as a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Movement."
As noted in previous posts, my personal Olympic journey is intertwined with the Golden Arches all the way back to "When The U.S. Wins, You Win" in grade school and the Atlanta Olympic Village (1996) locations of McDonald's across Georgia Tech.

Suggestion for future Games: I'd be "Lovin' It" if McDonald's Vancouver 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014 or Rio 2016 Happy Meals would include PINS rather than plastic toys.

Another in-box P.R. arrival was from one of my colleagues at Edelman, the firm where I work. Our client 24 Hour Fitness announced Wednesday the names of the athletes on deck for their Vancouver programs. According to the press release:

"[24 Hour Fitness'] partnership [includes] six U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls for the 2010 Games: Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, pairs skater Rockne Brubaker, short track speedskater J.R. Celski, Paralympic skier Chris Devlin-Young, speedskater Tucker Fredricks and skier Julia Mancuso. The athletes joined Team 24 Hour Fitness as they strive toward making the 2010 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and medaling this winter at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

It will be fun to witness how these and other athletes progress, work out, Tweet and shine before and during the Games of Vancouver.

As I wrap up this press release-infused post, it is worth noting that on the 100 Days milestone I also stumbled upon some P.R. gone bad. Apparently an embargoed** press release related to the torch relay struck a nerve with a reporter in Seattle. Call it Schadenfreude, but some of the comments are hilarious.

**offered/delivered to reporters in advance of publication date as a courtesy to aid with timely news delivery
Images via McDonald's, 24 Hour Fitness and Polo Ralph Lauren (Polo image is via Yahoo! News/Associated Press)

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