Chevy, BMW will rule the airwaves during games

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LOS ANGELES -- Viewers tuning in to the Winter Olympics next month will get a heavy dose of advertising from Chevrolet and BMW.

General Motors and BMW have signed deals with NBC to be the exclusive automaker advertisers during NBC's national broadcasts of the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, according to both automakers and NBC.

The deals will give GM and BMW broad exposure to the millions of viewers expected to tune in to the games from Feb. 7 through 24, without getting lost in the laundry list of auto brands that often flock to big events such as the Super Bowl.

The Olympics are a coveted marketing platform because of their international scope, their duration, the buzz leading up to the games and the allure of live sports, one of the few TV programming categories consumers still watch extensively in real time.

"All the OEMs are looking for big events that are less DVR-ed, which is why they go into sports as much as they do, but there's nothing equivalent to the Olympics in terms of global sport," said Ian Beavis, executive vice president of Nielsen Co.'s global automotive group.

Chevrolet will be the presenting sponsor of NBC's broadcast, a GM spokesman said last week. He declined to discuss the automaker's plans in detail but said that the brand will "have a strong presence" during coverage of the opening ceremonies and that a variety of Chevrolet vehicles will be advertised over the two weeks. Cadillac also will run commercials during coverage.

BMW's Olympics campaign will be the brand's largest U.S. marketing investment this year, a BMW spokeswoman said.

The brand will have two Olympic-themed commercials during the games to go with its digital and social media initiatives and branding on other Olympics-related platforms, part of its six-year deal signed with the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2010.

For example, BMW designed and built the two-man bobsleds to be used by the U.S. team.

You can reach Ryan Beene at rbeene@crain.com. -- Follow Ryan on Twitter


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