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Motor Pool: General Motors, NBC Sign Exclusive Deal For 2012 Summer Games

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

January 11, 2011: General Motors, which in February returns to the Super Bowl telecast for the first time in three years, continues to open its marketing purse strings, signing a deal with NBC Universal for exclusive domestic automotive advertising rights for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal means that, unlike Super Bowl XLV, during which GM will be sharing the airwaves with as many as seven other car companies, the automaker will be the only car company during national broadcasts on NBC from July 27- Aug. 12, 2012. The Summer Games will be held in London.

The alliance with NBC Universal also means that BMW, which last year signed a deal to become the official car company of the U.S. Olympic Committee and also is an official partner of the 2012 London Olympic Committee, will be shut out of national NBC broadcasts while the Games are in progress. The International Olympic Committee currently does not have an official global partner in the automotive category.

GM had been an official partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1997 through the end of 2008, when it chose to end the alliance due to the company's financial difficulties. In addition, GM had advertised within NBC's coverage of the Games since the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

The new exclusivity deal opens up more windows of opportunity for the automaker to reach what historically has been among the largest viewing audiences during Olympic years. Unlike the first deal signed in 1997, Internet, mobile devices and other forms of communication are now part of the media marketing mix to reach consumers.

According to GM, Chevrolet and Cadillac will have a "major advertising presence during NBC's coverage of the Games on network and cable television."  In addition, the brands will be featured in "select NBC Olympic-related programming leading up to the Games and online" at NBCOlympics.com.

"Media partnerships like this provide great opportunities for us to spread the word about our newest cars, trucks and crossovers," Joel Ewanick, GM's global CMO. said in a statement. "GM has been a huge fan of the Olympic Games for decades, and we look forward to being a partner in a big way with NBC Universal as it again covers one of the world's most significant sporting events."

GM had advertised during 15 consecutive Super Bowl telecasts, but financial difficulties led the company to drastically cut back on marketing over the past several year. In addition to bypassing the Super Bowl, GM had also cut back on advertising during the Academy Awards and the Emmys. In 2008, the company ended its alliance with Tiger Woods a year before their nine-year contract was due to conclude.

GM had previously said that its Super Bowl ads would focus on its Chevy banner, with spots before, during and after the game, as well as ads during Glee, which Fox will air immediately following its Super Bowl XLV coverage. Thirty-second ads during the game are going for between $2.7-$3 million, according to industry analysts.

"Chevrolet and Cadillac are two of the world's premier automotive brands in the midst of a remarkable resurgence."

"Chevrolet and Cadillac are two of the world's premier automotive brands in the midst of a remarkable resurgence, so it's terrific to see them make a major investment in our coverage of the London Games," said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics.

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