It's the Olympics of advertising, too, which is why NBC sold a record $900 million worth of ad time for its Sydney telecasts. Not surprisingly, advertisers have gone all out in their quest for the gold, unveiling several ambitious Olympic-themed spots during the 2000 Games. Herewith, a critical roundup of the first batch of Olympic commercials.
1) Spot: Foster's "Opening Ceremony"
Summary: A hand flips a sign on the door of an outback bar from CLOSED to OPEN, prompting a stampede of roughnecks to the watering hole. The subtitle that follows reads OPENING CEREMONY.
Critique: The latest in the beermaker's long-running "How to Speak Australian" campaign, the spot is at once both fresh and familiar. What's Aussie for funny?
Grade: Four rings.
2) Spot: Nike's "Horror"
Summary: A hockey-masked maniac chases scantily clad U.S. 1,500-meter star Suzy Favor Hamilton through the woods, only to run out of breath.
Critique: A clever takeoff on teen slasher movies that's appallingly inappropriate in the family-friendly context of the Olympics. Adding shock value was the fact that the spot's first airing on NBC immediately followed Cathy Freeman's poignant lighting of the Olympic torch.
Grade: Execution—four rings; taste—zero rings.
3) Spot: Buick's "Tiger Olympic"