Out to Launch

Olympic ads. Fake boobs sell real fries. Let's launch!

The United States Olympic Committee and the Ad Council launched a multi-year PSA campaign focusing on teen steroid use that's funded by Johnson & Johnson. "Asterisk" features the star player of a high school team being congratulated by students, teachers and coaches. Jake has a pimple on his forehead that gets bigger and bigger throughout the ad, as people begin to look at him differently. By the end of the ad, the zit has morphed into an asterisk, branding Jake as a fraud. See the long and short versions of the ad here and here. A print ad, seen here, features a female swimmer who cannot hide the bulging asterisk underneath her swim cap. The campaign was created pro bono by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.



 adidas launched "Countdown," a TV spot running predominantly in Hong Kong with a touch of China included. The ad shows both athletes and the country as a whole, waiting with bated breath for the games to begin. No pressure on the athletes or anything. Watch the ad here. "Gametime," running in China, shows residents propelling soccer, volleyball and basketball players to the top position on the medal podium. See the ad here. Print ads follow suit, with countrymen and women standing behind their athletes and supporting them atop a cluster of fans. See the ads here and here. TBWA/China created the TV ads and TBWA/China (TBWA/180) created the print ads.

adidas also launched a global print campaign called "Gold is not a Given," featuring sprinters Tyson Gay, Allyson Felix, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Jeremy Wariner, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and marathoner Haile Gebrselassie. These athletes flew to Beijing in February to familiarize themselves with the city and train in sub-zero temperatures. I won't run outdoors if it's below 40 degrees. Hence my day job and gym membership! Copy is different in each of the ads yet equally motivational. "Gold can be lost in a flash. Lost in the blink of an eye. Lost before the start of a race. Lost months before you step onto the track. Gold is never a given," reads the copy in Tyson Gay's ad, ironic for the sprinter, who's recovering from a hamstring injury. See the ads here, here, here, here, here and here. 180 Amsterdam created the campaign.

Isn't Morgan Freeman in the hospital? The actor has been the voiceover for Visa's "Go World" TV campaign, and vocally appears in the latest ad that congratulates swimmer Michael Phelps for becoming the Olympian with the most gold medals (10 and counting), a feat just recently achieved. Good thing companies prepare for potential -- OK, probable -- milestones. "Congratulations, Phelps" aired following his win in the 200-meter butterfly and treats Phelps fans to still shots of his toned body in and out of the pool and closes with the image of Phelps celebrating the U.S. team's comeback from behind victory in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay. I had to go online and watch it again. See the ad here. TBWA/Chiat/Day created the spot and OMD handled the media buy.

GE has three great TV spots running during the Olympics. "Crane" promotes GE's fuel-efficient and low-emission aircraft engines using a series of cranes awaiting takeoff on a beach. Takeoffs are halted due to runway traffic -- baby turtles. See the ad here. "Discus" shows how the Greek ruins came to be: a talented discus thrower battling a strong, sudden gust of wind. Watch the ad here. Crouching children, hungry, fire-breathing dragon? Village men, women and children trek grass to a mountaintop to feed a hungry dragon that in turn breathes fire and turns organic waste into energy for a heated pool. Legend=reality. Click here to watch the ad. BBDO New York created the campaign.

Kinetic launched a month-long mobile and outdoor campaign for the USA Water Polo Association. Ads are running on jumbotrons throughout New York and Los Angeles, with headlines such as "The most intense sport in Beijing and you only see half of it" and "The benefit of getting wounded in a pool is that chlorine is a disinfectant." See the ads here, here and here, which include a number for users to text and receive more info on water polo.

AT&T launched two Olympic-themed ads supporting its AT&T Mobile TV live Olympic coverage. Butterflies flutter about in one ad, as do fast-moving gymnasts. Watch the ad here. "We will shatter records. We will pull off miracles. We will make history," says the voiceover in another ad, which positions the fans as part of Team USA. See the ad here. BBDO New York and Atlanta created the ads. 

The old lady hitting an offender with her purse bit doesn't get old for me. Nationwide uses it in "Parking Lot," a TV spot promoting its accident-forgiveness offering. In it, a young guy pulls into a parking spot and hits the back of an elderly couple's long, green car. As the man attempts to apologize, the old woman exits her car and whoops him with her purse while her husband shouts directions: "Hit him in the head, Rose." Watch the ad here. TM Advertising created the campaign and handled the media buy.

New York Fries, a Canadian fast food restaurant, launched a series of print ads that, for the first time, feature fries that are juxtaposed with fake products: boobs and a toupee, to illustrate that the fries are preservative-free. Ads for "Real Fries in a Fake World" are running throughout Canada in Chatelaine, Hello, Flare, Canadian Living, People, Style at Home and Canadian House & Home through May 2009. See the ads here, here and here. Zig created the campaign and Media Experts handled the media buy.

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