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SBD Global/October 10, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

U.S. Lighter Company Zippo To End Sochi Olympic Torch Social Media Campaign

U.S. pocket lighter maker Zippo said Tuesday that "it will extinguish a social media campaign tied to a mishap with the Olympic torch after Russian officials expressed concern over possible unauthorized use of the emblem for the Sochi Winter Games," according to RIA NOVOSTI. Zippo Global Marketing Dir David Warfel said, "It was never meant to imply that somehow we had any relationship or sponsorship with the Olympic committee at all." Zippo "launched what appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek campaign on Facebook and Twitter after the Olympic flame went out as famous Soviet-era swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan carried the torch through the Kremlin on Sunday in the opening stage of the nationwide relay." When Karapetyan began beckoning for help, "a plainclothes officer rekindled the torch with a lighter that the company says appeared to be a Zippo lighter." Zippo proceeded to splash the image of the officer reigniting the flame across its Facebook page, "where it posted an update Monday with the same image that had garnered more than 4,000 likes and 1,200 shares as of Tuesday afternoon." Warfel said that "the company has decided to scrub the images and its social media posts related to the Olympic torch flameout later Tuesday after a meeting of its social media team" (RIA NOVOSTI, 10/8). The MOSCOW TIMES reported Zippo "may face legal action for publishing a photo of the Olympic torch being relit using one of its lighters," because it did not have permission to display the Olympic logo. Sochi Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko said that it is not yet known what administrative or legal steps the Games' organizers can take against the company, "which used the registered Sochi-2014 imagery without permission." The organizing committee "is working on it," Chernyshenko "wrote on his Twitter blog" (MOSCOW TIMES, 10/9).  
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