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Volume 6 No. 211
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Olympic Marketing Notes: A Mini Controversy

REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann reported that small, remote-controlled versions of Mini cars whizzing around Olympic Stadium to shuttle javelins, discus and hammers back to the athletes "have triggered branding questions at what are strictly ad-free Olympic venues at the London Games." The Minis, made by BMW, who is also a Games sponsor, "may not carry visible logos but are instantly recognisable for what they are." IOC Dir of TV and Marketing Services Timo Lumme said, "There is no commercial reason (behind choosing Minis)." He said that the choice as transporters for the athletes' equipment "was not dictated by a commercial decision." Since the start of the athletics competitions last week, the Minis have "instantly become a point of discussion." Their use inside the stadium has raised questions of "whether the IOC was indirectly relaxing its own strict ad rules" (REUTERS, 8/7).

ADIDAS AMBUSH: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Matthew Chapman reported that Olympic sponsor adidas "has been ambushed" by a giant projection on a tower block overlooking the Olympic Park, "that linked the brand with exploitation." Pressure group War on Want projected a 65ft-high image onto Dennison Point Sunday night, proclaiming "exploitation -- not OK here, not OK anywhere," underneath the adidas logo. War on Want claims adidas has already sold £100M ($157M) of Olympic clothing (which the company revealed in its financial results last week) and alleges "workers making its goods around the world are paid poverty wages and are having to skip meals to survive." In a statement adidas said, "Adidas is confident we are adhering to and, in fact, exceeding the high standards set by LOCOG and we would urge War on Want to deal in fact rather than fiction" (, 8/6).

CHANGING GEARS: MARKETING MAGAZINE's Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith reported that McDonald's has "shifted into the next phase of its £10M ($15.7M) Olympics campaign," airing pictures and footage straight from fans during the events, which are used for its "We're All Making The Games" campaign. The crowdsourced ads have been made by "splicing clips of fans" watching the Games over the past week, supported by "digital outdoor ads featuring pictures that Olympics fans have posted of themselves onto a dedicated Facebook page" (, 8/7).

BT LAUNCH: The BRAND REPUBLIC's Sarah Shearman reported that BT has launched an ad campaign "to highlight its role in delivering communication services during the Games." The TV ad, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, features "viewers' reactions to the Games." The ad was aired Monday during "Coronation Street" on ITV1. It features "a large crowd celebrating the Games in Hyde Park," where the telecoms company has been hosting live screenings and events during the course of the Games (, 8/6).