DETROIT -- Automakers, as well as skiers, skaters and snowboarders, are going for the gold at the Winter Olympics.
Chevrolet, Subaru, Nissan and Cadillac are advertising during U.S. telecasts of this year's games in Turin, Italy. NBC and its affiliated cable networks are broadcasting the games, which run through Feb. 26.
The car companies say the Olympics are a good venue for introducing consumers to new and redesigned vehicles. Subaru estimates that 17.9 million viewers are seeing its prime-time commercials, and 3.5 million viewers are seeing its spots during late-night broadcasts.
Neither NBC nor the automakers would say what the companies are paying to advertise during the games.
Chevrolet is the official automotive sponsor of NBC's Olympics coverage. Kim Kosak, Chevrolet's general director of advertising and sales promotion, says the company's spots primarily feature large trucks. The company is allocating 30 percent of its launch ad budget for the redesigned Tahoe to the Olympics, Kosak says.
"We wanted the Olympics to be our big, emotional appeal in the launch of our full-sized utilities, the Tahoe and the Suburban," Kosak told Automotive News.
Chevrolet has bought 255 Olympics ad slots on NBC and on the USA, CNBC and MSNBC cable networks. It is showing eight commercials for the first time during the games. Five of them have content related to the Olympics.
"Great advertising breaks through the clutter," Kosak says. "A good Olympic-themed spot is even more (of a) breakthrough."
A 30-second spot features a fleet of Tahoes playing the Olympic anthem, "Bugler's Dream," on their horns. Kosak says the spot represents the first commercial use of the song authorized by the International Olympic Committee.
A Suburban spot shows prairie dogs scampering around the interior while a narrator describes the vehicle's features. The tag line: "Every big family will want one."
Chevrolet is promoting its sponsorship of the games with onscreen graphics during the NBC broadcasts. For example, a snowboarder kicks up his board to reveal the brand's slogan, "An American Revolution," on the bottom.
Chevrolet also is sponsoring "Olympic moments" vignettes during NBC's coverage. The company's bow tie symbol is part of the network's studio set.
In print, Chevrolet is sponsoring special coverage of the games in USA Today.
The ads include images of athletes cutting through simulated newspaper copy. The promotion also includes ads for the Tahoe, Suburban and Avalanche.