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Thursday, February 23, 2021

eat your wheaties
During my trashing of Bode Miller, I noted that the biggest tragedy lay in the marketing angle: A fundamental dearth of star power for Team USA, in all sports. (I would cite Men’s Hockey, since you’d assume NHL players would bring their own aura of celebrity with them, medal or no medal… But I’ll defer on that rant.)

That lack hasn’t gone unnoticed on Madison Avenue. Advertisers are cringing at the lack of anyone on whom to hitch a wagon, and are declaring Torino to be the weakest Olympics to come down the pike in years.

There were high hopes for Sasha Cohen:

Salvaging positive spin has been largely left to Cohen. She is leading the competition entering the women’s figure skating long program Thursday and could rise above her American teammates in marketing appeal by winning the gold medal. She replaced Michelle Kwan as the face of figure skating after Kwan withdrew with an injury shortly after arriving here.

If Cohen can protect the lead she earned in the short program and become the third consecutive American to win the Olympic women’s singles, marketers agree she will be the enduring face of these Games.

“The big names have fallen by the wayside,” Bob Dorfman, the executive creative director for Pickett Advertising, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from San Francisco. “Now it’s Sasha Cohen’s game to win or lose. If she wins a gold, she’ll be golden with the marketers. If she wins silver or bronze, it will be seen as a bit of a disappointment.”

Cohen stumbled to a silver, so I guess disappointment rules.

Actually, I’m not sure why Cohen isn’t better regarded. She was already a big name in figure skating before these Olympics; she certainly has enough endorsement deals already to prove her marketability. I’m betting she emerges as the most-endorsable figure from these Games.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 02/23/2006 08:48:00 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Other Sports
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