Roots builds awareness for Olympic outfitter duties

Clothing maker Roots has ramped up publicity efforts around its ongoing role as Team USA's official outfitter for the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Clothing maker Roots has ramped up publicity efforts around its ongoing role as Team USA's official outfitter for the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Michael Budman, a Roots co-founder, said it launched the effort on October 7, when it signed Apollo Anton Ohno, a US gold-medal speed skater, as a spokesperson. Toronto-based Roots has served as the US's outfitter in the last three Olympics.

The company officially debuted its Torino 2006 apparel with Ohno on November 22 on the Today show. 

"I don't like to work too far in advance," Budman said. "Now everyone is starting to think, eat, and sleep the Olympics." 

The AP ran a story on the company's relationship with the US team, and the New York Times is preparing a piece.

Roots handles the entire marketing function in-house. "Robert [Sarner, director of communication and public affairs] is fielding calls hourly," Budman said.

The company has also been outfitting celebrities, such as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, two stars from movie Glory Road, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. 

The company anticipated another media blitz last Thursday, when it launched a partnership with Target, which is making Roots gear available in over 1,400 Target stores.

Overall, Roots will make about 80% of the official Olympic apparel available to the public. Budman and co-founder Ron Green will also be participating in special events at the games, including a special event on February 12.

Roots is also supplying apparel in undisclosed cross-promotional programs with other sponsors. "We're going to be extremely active the next thirty days," Budman said.

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