first dot-com to wrangle Olympics deal

By Michael McCarthy USA TODAY

The dot-coms are growing up fast. has become the first dot-com to cut a U.S. Olympics sponsorship deal. The deal comes as the career site, one of the first dot-com Super Bowl advertisers, wraps up its Super Bowl plans for this year.

“We are stepping full force into the consumer light,” CEO Jeff Taylor says.

Monster’s moves:

* Winter Olympics. The company has a deal with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) and the U.S. Olympic Committee to be “official online career management services sponsor” of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and the 2002 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Teams. The four-year deal cost between $10 million and $20 million, Taylor says. also will work with the SLOC to recruit 26,000 volunteers and 750 full-time staff needed for the Games.

* Super Bowl. The company is finishing creative strategies for its two in-game commercials. “We won’t run another kids’ spot,” Taylor says, referring to last year’s “When I Grow Up” commercial in which kids mused about one day “clawing their way into middle management.”

* Giveaway. The company is donating one of its three Super Bowl pre-game ads to promote Groundhog Job Shadow Day, a national program to help youngsters plan careers.

Whether it’s Olympics, Super Bowl or charities, few companies are better than Monster at marketing strategies that garner additional publicity, says Patrick Keane, senior analyst at Jupiter Communications. “They’re great spin-meisters.”

Other experts say you can watch for more dot-coms to cut Olympic and other high-profile sponsorship deals to assume leadership stances in their categories.

“The name of the game now on the Web is to act like the 800-pound gorilla in your category,” says Michael Markowitz, president of Michael Markowitz & Associates.

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