NEW YORK -- The Olympics -- and its potentially enormous audience -- is too tempting for fashion and beauty companies to pass up.
So, as the world watches Athens and the Games' star athletes (most of whom are wearing rather bland team-issued uniforms) it also will see product-placement galore. Some are real Olympic-sanctioned pieces of history, some pay homage to the Games and some are Greek brands looking for their turn in the spotlight.
Swatch Group companies' affiliation with the Olympics dates back to the 1932 Games in Los Angeles when they provided stopwatches; now Swatch gets the title of Official Timekeeper of the International Olympic Committee.
The Swatch collection available to the public celebrates Greek history, culture and the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896. The color palette includes the blues and greens of the sea, bright and sunny yellows, oranges and reds, and white, representing the small island villages under the moon. Also, browns and grays of the earth and sand that build ancient temples are prominently features.
Many of the watches are inscribed with Greek letters and words, and some of the bands are formed by a series of symbolic rings.
Meanwhile, the upscale watch brand Longines has two models of a classic chronograph-style watch enhanced with Olympic rings.
The company's ClimaCool fabric technology, with moisturing-wicking properties and strategically placed ventilation, will be incorporated into the outfits of the U.S. weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing and fencing teams, as well as in their sneakers.
That same technology is used for the logo-covered apparel available to spectators and supporters, including the Olympic podium jacket and pants, which are embroidered with the Athens 2004 symbol.
For the public, Reebok introduces its Gold sneaker collection, with names like Gold Medalist, Vanta, the boxing-inspired Super Knockout and water sport-inspired Splash. The shoes are white with metallic gold accents.