Sponsoring 2014 Olympics worth the risk?


Usually sponsoring the Olympic Games gets brand names lots of publicity and great recognition. However, this year sponsors are facing lots of adversity.

According to the Huffington Post, sponsors were warned in August about the possible complications that could arise. The 2014 Olympics in Sochi have generated more negative based articles than I have seen for any other Olympics.

It is detracting from the real purposes of the Games.

However, my point is to not talk politics, it is to talk about Public Relations. McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are facing real problems on social media that isn’t giving their brand the excepted recognition that comes from sponsoring the Games.

Coca-Cola’s social media campaign “Share a Coke” had to be shut down. Activists were using it to persuade people to use social media to highlight the anti-gay brutality and laws in Russia.

What was a great PR idea by Coca-Cola was ruined by the activists. It was an interactive site where participants could type there name in and then share the coke online. People tried typing the word “gay” in, but the site would not except it. Activist were outraged.

This was Coca-Cola’s statement.

The name and message auto-generator on our South Africa “Share A Coke” website would not accept the word “Gay”, but did accept the word “Straight”. This isn’t how the program was supposed to work, and we’ve pulled the site down until we can fix the problem.

We apologize for this mistake. As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices.”

They weren’t the only ones being affected by the social media hijacking.

McDonald’s hashtag #CheertoSochi was meant to cheer on the athletes, but was again used by LGBT activists to promote their ideals. Two great campaigns foiled because of politics.

Twitter users were outraged by the hashtag. One user @MSignorile tweeted:

Shame on @McDonalds sending #CheersToSochi while gay activists are attacked by Olympic officials. Outrageous!


McDonalds also had a response.

The real question here is did McDonalds and Coca-Cola really think of the repercussions of sponsoring these Games? They were well aware that there would be come complications.

However, I don’t think that they thought it would get this bad and this politically heated. Right now their names are taking a hit, but I don’t think that it will affect them overall.

They are not getting good publicity now, but this will all blow over just like the Kony 2012 campaign and many other protests. People are bored and they want something to complain about so that’s why they are pouring Coke down drains.

Was it worth it for them?

According to CNN’s Money Web page Corporations pay an estimated $100 million to become a major Olympic sponsor. On top of this, they pump massive investment into related marketing campaigns.

Here are some links for more information:





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