packaged goods

P&G Adds To Its Olympic Spokes-Athlete List

K/RProcter & Gamble has signed 10 Olympic athletes for marketing alliances through the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The deal follows P&G's sign-up of six Olympians last fall as part of a multi-year program supporting the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) through the 2012 games.

The new roster of athletes comprises skater Rockne Brubaker; J.R. Celski, a speedskater; hockey player Julie Chu; figure-skating medalist Sasha Cohen; speedskating medalist Chad Hedrick; curler Nicole Joraanstad; downhill skier Julia Mancuso; pairs skater Keauna McLaughlin; skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace; and snow boarder Seth Wescott.

The company says that Brubaker, Celski, Chu, Joraanstad, Mancuso, McLaughlin and Wescott will promote P&G's Crest brand. Cohen will promote Pepto, and Hedrick and Pikus-Pace will pitch Pampers.

Last year the company signed a range of athletes, including multi-medalist speed skater Apolo Ohno, downhill racer Lindsey Vonn, and ice dancer Tanith Belbin.



The company says the athletes will be part of integrated campaigns with advertising, public relations, in-store merchandising, mobile, digital and direct mail. Procter & Gamble's deal with the USOC spotlights 17 of the CPG giant's brands for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the 2012 Olympic Games.

P&G's deal with the U.S. Olympic team includes the summer Olympics in London in two years. The company said last year it would pitch brands like Secret, Olay and Pantene and put the Olympic five-ring symbol in POP and packaging on other products.

The Colorado Springs, Colo.-based USOC, which doesn't get cash from the public coffers, gets close to half of its money from sponsorship deals like P&G's. But the economy has cut the committee's sponsor roster.

Kodak and Kellogg left after the Beijing Olympics, and Bank of America left in June, after a 16-year stint as sponsor. General Motors and Home Depot are two others that have departed.

Last spring, USOC CEO Jim Scherr resigned. This week, he was replaced by Scott Blackmun, a sports executive and former USOC leader.

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