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  • McDonald's Readies for Games Operations, Lenovo Auctions Olympic Laptops


    McDonald's has been the Official Restaurant of the Olympics for seven consecutive Games. (McDonald's)
    New Olympic Plans for McDonald’s

    At the six-month out mark to the Beijing Games, McDonald’s reports that building, staffing and promotions for August 2008 are well underway.

    Construction has already begun on one of the four official McDonald’s Olympic restaurants. By Games-time, there will be one in the Olympic Village, another at the Main Press Center, and two on the Olympic Green.

    The 1,300 employees who will staff the restaurants have already been selected. The Olympic Champion Crew were chosen from McDonald's locations worldwide. They will be invited to blog about their experience, continuing a program begun in Turin.

    Under a new program, McDonald's will bring 300 children – a third of them from mainland China – to Beijing to experience the Games and the city sights. The company has collected childrens' artistic and writing submissions to decide who will win the Olympic tickets. The selection process and journey for the Chinese children will be documented in a reality show by CCTV.

    The fast food giant is also creating a new global TV commercial that celebrates the Olympic spirit.
    McDonald’s became an Official Sponsor of the Olympics in 1976 and is signed on through 2012.

    Bidding for Olympic Notebook

    TOP Sponsor Lenovo began a worldwide laptop auction on Feb. 8, to mark the six-month countdown to Beijing.

    The online auctions are open to bidders in Japan, Australia, the UK, France, Russia, the U.S., Hong Kong, Argentina, China, India, Brazil and Canada. Bidders will have the opportunity to win one of 36 Lenovo limited edition notebook PCs, which feature Olympic Torch-themed covers. Some are autographed by Olympians.

    All proceeds from the auction will go to select philanthropies through Lenovo’s Hope Fund. .

    Coke Celebrates New Year

    Campaigns at the six-month milestone are subdued because of Chinese New Year, which began Feb. 7. (Getty Images)
    Coca-Cola is starting a new Olympic ad campaign on a Chinese New Year theme.

    New TV commercials, running exclusively in China, feature top athletes Liu Xiang, Guo Jinjin, Zhou Ruirui and Feng Kun. The ads portray their mothers showing up at the athletes' training center on motorcycles to celebrate Chinese New Year. The ads are based on the theme of family bonding, and aim to build a strong connection with consumers.

    The new ad is the newest installment of Coke's “Open up the Shuang” campaign – which uses the Mandarin word for physical and emotional refreshment.

    Sponsor Briefs…

    Profits at Chinese internet portal posted a jump in income in the foruth quarter, due in part to ad sales ahead of the Beijing Games
    . "For fiscal 2007, Olympic partners, sponsors and suppliers increased advertising spending with Sohu by 74 percent year on year," Sohu Co-President Belinda Wang said at the Feb. 4 announcement.'s fourth quarter net income of $15.1 million is more than double 2006 Q4 results.

    The 2008 FINA World Swimming Championships have signed three new official suppliers , for the Apr. 9 to 13 event in Manchester, U.K. The Trafford Centre signed on as the Official Shopping Centre, Manchester Airport is a corporate supporter and United Utilities is providing two million liters of water to fill the competition pools. The new partners join Manchester Evening News,
    Athlete Andrew Howe, gymnast Vanessa Ferrari and athlete Roberto La Barbera appear at a Milan press conference to launch the Fiat sponsorship. (Getty Images)  
    Kelloggs, Pure, GMG Radio, Serco plc and Northern Rail. UK-based company Fast Track agency, which brokered the partnerships, soon hopes to fill the remaining partner categories.

    The Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee will handle its own marketing sales, a first for an Asian Games. The Olympic Council of Asia and Guangzhou 2010 signed a marketing release agreement Feb. 1.

    The committee reports that sponsorship, licensing, and TV broadcasting right sales are already underway.

    “The release demonstrates OCA’s trust on GAGOC, to the city and the province of Guangdong,” says Zhang Guangning, mayor of Guangzhou.

    The 16TH Asian Games will take place Nov. 12 to 27, 2010 and will feature 42 events.

    Italian auto maker Fiat launched a new campaign tied to national sports with the debut of the so-called Italian Athlete Factory. The program provides financial support, exposure and marketing advice to ten top athletes who will in turn appear in Fiat advertising campaigns and events. A new website for the team -- -- features athletes' blogs, bios and photos.

    Written by Laura Grundy

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