This Washington Post article explains the reason for the annoying commercial that plagued the HDTV coverage of the Olympic games. Apparently, NBC did Sony a "favor" by running it so often, without checking with Sony first.
"We supplied all of the high-def equipment NBC is using for the games," Stringer said. "Then it turned out that NBC was unable to sell any ads on their HDTV channel. So somebody thought it would be a nice way of saying 'thank you' to Sony to drop in Sony commercials during some of the breaks. Unfortunately they didn't notify us and ended up using just that one spot. Our guys didn't know about it, but of course we're very embarrassed."