The International Olympic Committee is seeking a network to handle the £60 million global brief to promote the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The organisation, which is in the early stages of approaching networks, will initially request that agencies send in tender applications. It will then create a shortlist of four networks to battle for the entire account.
The winning agency will be asked to create an integrated global marketing and communications campaign that will be based on the strategy of "celebrate humanity".
The same idea was also used to create ads in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Games. This was handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, and run from the agency's New York office.
The brief will include heavy TV work, including a number of globally recognised celebrities and luminaries, as well as direct marketing, a high level of digital work and some experiential marketing.
The appointment will mark the third time the IOC has hired a network to promote the games. TBWA\Chiat\Day was behind the promotion of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
The IOC does not retain a media agency because it negotiates broadcast deals around the world. This guarantees the IOC millions of pounds-worth of free airtime on public service channels, such as the BBC, and on commercial networks.
In February this year, Johnson & Johnson signed up to become a partner of the Olympics for the first time. The deal gives the healthcare business privileged sponsorship opportunities such as global marketing rights for J&J products around the 2008 games.
In April, the company handed the advertising brief for this sponsorship package to Ogilvy & Mather after a five-way global pitch.