A Salute to the U.S. Olympic Team

For Revlon

Revlon was the first cosmetics company to sponsor the U.S. Team. They wanted to stand out among sponsors. We suggested a never-before-attempted world’s record salute to the team, thousands of volunteers flashing colored cards – “U.S.A.”, “Olympic 5-Rings”, “American Flag”. We would make it into a tv :30 with “America The Beautiful” for soundtrack. Revlon would air it during the 1980 Games. …nice idea, but will it sell lipstick? the V.P. asked. His boss interrupted: People will love us for doing this…you have to believe in the end that will sell lipstick.

Five months later at the L.A. Coliseum 6,000 USC students performed the feat while we rolled the cameras. The Goodyear Blimp donated aerial footage. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir contributed “America The Beautiful” for music track. Screen Extras Guild forgave the 6,000 extra fees. Revlon ran “Salute” in their most valuable positions of the Games on Opening and Closing days.


The surprise to everyone was the enormous publicity value that accrued to Revlon and the pride employees took in their company’s sponsorship. Like all ad men of the Mad Men era I thought in advertising terms. After PEOPLE magazine ran this page some started to refer to me as “the big idea guy”, so I formed The Big Idea Co.™, and began thinking in terms of integrating all marketing disciplines for greater impact.

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