The Coca-Cola Co. is to launch advertising in the US around its position as one of the sponsors of the Olympic Games, which are due to open in less than a month, in Beijing.

The three new ads - the first of which will begin airing this week - are part of the global 'Coke Side of Life' campaign. The commercials are supplemented by two Coca-Cola Olympic-themed vignettes that began running exclusively on NBC in June.

"When people across the country gather to watch the world's most compelling sporting event, Coca-Cola will be with them to celebrate the excitement and emotion of the Olympic Games," said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer at Coca-Cola North America. "These new ads bring people together by conveying the universal ideals of optimism, unity and inspiration that Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games have shared and promoted for more than 80 years."

The first new Coca-Cola ad features Olympians Yao Ming and LeBron James. The spot celebrates the athletes' competitive spirit and cultural diversity. As the ad concludes, both players display bottles of Coca-Cola - Yao's featuring the Coca-Cola logo in Mandarin and James' bottle with English script.

Another ad, which celebrates the 80-year partnership between Coca-Cola and the Olympic Games, features historical footage of Olympic and Special Olympic athletes receiving their medals backed by the voiceover, "If you've had a Coke in the last 80 years, you've had a hand in making every Olympic dream come true."

The final spot, 'Bird's Nest', features animated birds in the colours of the Olympic Rings as they fly across the world collecting drinking straws from various bottles and glasses of Coke. The five birds construct a miniature replica of the Beijing Olympic Stadium from the straws and then watch the opening ceremony from their new home. This spot will debut during the opening ceremony for the games.

Two special NBC vignettes - which began airing in June - promote Coca-Cola's collectible Olympic-themed cans bearing the Coca-Cola logo in different languages, including Ethiopian, Russian, Thai, Mandarin and English. In the spots, members of the Coca-Cola "Six Pack" of Olympic athletes who are featured on Coca-Cola Olympic packaging discuss the uplifting experience of the Olympic Games. The 'Six Pack' includes Natalie Coughlin (swimming), Shawn Johnson (gymnastics), LeBron James (basketball), Steven Lopez (taekwondo), Andy Potts (triathlon) and Sanya Richards (track & field).