Greatest Tool Creates Greatest Fear for Olympics Organizers

5 Jul

In in article recently posted on “everythingpr” page, Mihaela Lica Butler writes about imposed sponsor restrictions being foreseen as a possible problem during this year’s Olympic Games in London.

She addressed a post on that spoke to unauthorized product promotion at the recently held Euro Cup 2012 by Danish footballer (soccer player) Nicklas Bendtner. The Rueters article also discusses a similar “stunt” by British sprinter Linford Christie. While Bendtner was accused of prominently putting his Paddy Power-sponsored underpants on display after a goal against Portugal, Christie was seen sporting a pair of leaping cat emblem contact lenses of sponsor brand Puma in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Puma Lenses

Ad ambushing is becoming a great concern for Olympic organizers. Olympic sponsors pour millions of dollars, culminating into billions in revenue for game production, into legally sound advertisements during the games, so it is understandable that feathers would be ruffled over the free publicity some of the non-participating brands are trying to “sneak in” through loopholes and other organized stunts.

In the world’s first so-called “social media olympics”, expectations that fans will be closer to athletes and participants will have new channels to communicate with their followers is seen as both a great step forward in relationship management, and another consideration loss-prevention and legal teams will have to think about.

There are two ways this could turn out for the future of public relations. The team handling Olympic advertisements, sponsors and social media, will either come up with a solution for prevention that is carried out well, and can be used as a good example for public relations practitioners in the future, or, as with the case of Bendtner, it can essentially “blow up” in their faces, resulting in a “what-not-to-do” example.

Fans supported the Danish player to such an extent that his fine was covered by Paddy Power for a mere €100,000. That’s not a lot when compared to the “free” attention the brand gained, while competitors spent much more on legitimate ad space.

Paddy Power


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