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SBD Global/March 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship
Vodafone To End F1 Sponsorship After Season; Telmex May Be Replacement
Published March 15, 2013
BAD PRESS: In London, Nic Fildes reported Vodafone has been “reconsidering its involvement” with F1 since “bitter acrimony broke out in April over the Bahrain Grand Prix, which went ahead despite a violent uprising in the country in which thousands of anti-government protesters confronted police.” Several corporate sponsors, including Vodafone, “pulled their hospitality plans but could do little to press for the removal of their branding from the cars because of the structure of sponsorship deals.” Vodafone was “particularly sensitive to events during the Arab Spring after it was forced by armed forces to shut down its network in Egypt in January 2011 and send out a text message on behalf of the Mubarak government to ‘confront the traitors and criminals.’” The company became a “lightning rod for criticism by activist groups both within Egypt and in the UK and the prospect of its brand appearing on racing cars during the Bahrain uprising threatened to backfire on the company a year later” (LONDON TIMES, 3/14).