By Barry Janoff
June 12, 2013: Coca-Cola is picking up the marketing gauntlet for the 2014 Winter Olympics some seven months before the event starts, unveiling what it called a "Four Pack" of athletes to help lead the company's efforts for the Sochi Games.
The quartet includes Michelle Kwan, two-time Olympic medalist in women’s figure skating; Ted Ligety, gold medalist in men’s alpine skiing at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino and a Sochi 2014 hopeful; Evan Lysacek, gold medalist in men’s figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and a Sochi 2014 hopeful; and Amy Purdy, a three-time World Cup champion in para-snowboarding, currently the top-ranked female adaptive snowboarder in the U.S. and a Paralympic hopeful for Sochi 2014.
Coke said the four athletes would have prominent roles in the company’s marketing efforts, including digital advertising, packaging and at retail. They also will serve as “Ambassadors of Active Living” to "encourage and inspire fans to lead healthy, balanced lifestyles."
This is the fourth consecutive Olympic Games in which Coca-Cola has featured a collection of athletes as part of its Olympic marketing program, dating back to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Coca-Cola is a global sponsor of the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Committee, along with ATOS, Dow, General Electric, McDonald's, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
Coke is also one of just three presenting sponsors of the 2014 Sochi Torch Relay (along with JSC Russian Railways and Ingosstrakh Insurance). According to tradition, the Olympic flame will be lit in Olympia, Greece, then transported to Moscow on Oct, 7, 2013. It will begin its journey across Russia the next day en route to the Sochi Games, which run Feb. 7-23, 2014. The Paralympics Games will run March 7-16.
Kwan was part of a 22-person team that carried the Olympic Torch during the U.S. portion of the route, also sponsored in part by Coke, prior to the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Coca-Cola said it would reveal details on “Four Pack” marketing and activation in its 2014 Olympic program later this year.
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