July 24th, 2012
Spotting An 'American Idol' Moment At The Olympics
By Howard Berkes
Olympic reporting veterans like myself (London is Games No. 8) noticed something extraordinary this weekend at the first London 2012 news conference called by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
The “something” sat there on the podium, directly in front of Rogge: an aquamarine bottle of Powerade, a Coca-Cola product. And next to Rogge, in front of IOC spokesman Mark Adams, was a carefully positioned bottle of caramel-colored Coke. Dozens of photographers and TV cameras were capturing the event; it seemed impossible to miss the OIympic sponsor’s products.
Now, Coke has paid a gazillion dollars to be an Olympic sponsor — so the soft-drink giant could be forgiven for a bit of cheap product placement. But there is a firm line at the Olympics, between advertising and sports. At least, there used to be.