SBD/February 10, 2014/Olympics

COC Weighs Suit Over Labatt's Budweiser Hockey Campaign For Ambush Marketing

The COC is considering its options to "fight a campaign by Labatt Breweries of Canada," which the COC "says is misleading Canadians into associating the company’s Budweiser brand with the Olympics," according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. The campaign launched during the Canadian feed of Super Bowl XLVIII last weekend and featured a "large Budweiser blimp designed to look like a hockey goal light." The ad "features a scene in Moscow, with dejected fans watching Team Canada score against Russia." Labatt on Friday "began sending the real-life, 70-foot blimp out for appearances in Canadian cities, which it has said will continue over the coming weeks." Labatt Brewing Co. Ltd. "is not an Olympic sponsor in Canada." However, Anheuser-Busch "does have a relationship" with the USOC. Molson Coors is the COC's official beer sponsor. Budweiser's promotional material on social media "includes a fine-print disclaimer that 'Budweiser is not an official sponsor of the Olympic Games, the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, Hockey Canada or the Canadian Olympic Committee and this campaign is not licensed by, sponsored by, or otherwise associated with those parties.'" However, the COC "believes the legal disclaimers are not good enough." Krashinsky notes the COC’s "concerns about Labatt’s campaign come just days after it filed suit" against The North Face for "marketing itself in a way that suggests an Olympic connection" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/10).
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