Sponsor-gate at the winter Olympics

Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Photo by Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

Interesting news spread about a sponsor who wanted to mask out mobile phones made by its competition to make their advertisement more efficient on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Their approach is interesting and the moral of the situation even more.

Many websites wrote about the news (Techhive, Slashgear, NBC Sports, HVGTelefonguru, etc) it is said that Samsung asked some olympic participants to hide their Apple logo on their phones if they don’t want to use a phone manufactured by the main sponsor of the games.

Officials deny
Much less of the news sites published the official replies to these claims (Guardian, HVG, stb). Both the company involved and the OIC officials deny that anyone would ask such a thing. Almost none of the original news has been updated with the denial and only few new articles informed readers about the update either. Some news sites – including the one originally publishing the athletes claims – simply deleted the article like starting up this scandal would’ve never happened. Officials state they didn’t ask anyone to do anything similar and noone will look after the phones used by athletes. It makes however an uneasy situation that everyone needs to excuse themselves for a request probably never even made.

It may be established
Claims of the swiss athletes (article deleted since then) may have some establishment and someone really may have told this or something similar. Forget that possibility maybe some officials did indeed ask something like this and they want to cover it up just because of the stir it caused in the media.

I can easily imagine that someone just made jokes out of this, because this manufacturer was the one that tried to make fun of the buyers of the competition. It seems quite logical that someone has this in mind at first and maybe says it loud as well.
I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would mean it seriously to give a moral advice to the sportsmen, pointing out this is really acceptable to do as a minimum after receiving an expensive gift in the form of a mobile phone. In this form I would even understand this idea considering the official smartphone sponsor of the games presented each of the participants with a new mobile phone. It is quite a nice gesture and a really good marketing move as well – however we see how it just turned into something else.

Don’t advertise – at least not for free
Who would want to be a free billboard for ads? Especially if someone wants to make money out of your success. Entering the Olympics is indeed a level of success even if you don’t win. Getting there needs a lot of work and financial input as well. On the other hand if you receive something in exchange for the advertisement instead of paying to advertise a company – it changes perception of things a lot.

For example I tape down my camera and keep my phone and tablet in a cover only partially because I don’t want to show off brand logos. I want to protect them from accidents and keep them unharmed as long as possible. On however I never liked branded clothes, and even in my smartphone I turn off the automatic signature that says “message sent from my xy mobile device”.
But if any company would like to support my blog or my work I would be much more happy to let them and their support be seen than I want to do it for free. (Yes, this can be considered to be a business offer, sponsors can send their inquiries to my address.)

Mobile photography at the Olypmics
The official giudelines of the games state that participants and all accredited parties may take photos freely but videos can be recorded within Olympic Venues and the Olympic Village strictly for personal view and may not be shared anywhere publicly. This is due to the exclusivity of the television rights sold to different companies, what is not uncommon at events like this – however this year’s change in TV rights handling didn’t allow Eurosport to follow the Olympics at all.

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