Brand chill in Beijing

Although controversies are encircling the Beijing Olympics as doggedly as protesters are tailing the torch, it is unlikely any sponsors will pull out of their commitments, despite increasing calls for boycotts, wrote the National Post April 11. But expect to see marketing linked to the Games replete with images of athletes and Olympic pride rather than Chinese dragons.

Alan Middleton , professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business at York University, said marketers initially saw an opportunity in this summer’s Games to promote their brands using some visually beautiful Asian tropes and imagery.

"A lot of people have wanted to park their interest under not just the general ‘Olympic’ umbrella, but the ‘romance and exoticism of China’ umbrella," Middleton said. "But if [protests] continue, there will be serious boardroom discussions on the part of all sponsors. And the more somebody has planned a campaign around [ Beijing], they will try to move away from that" and focus more on the athletes.

While some marketers might be able to shift direction in print and TV advertising and not directly suffer for sponsoring the Olympics, Middleton noted, the controversy might cast a "brand chill" over others.

On air

  • Alain Baudot , professor emeritus in Glendon’s French Department and director of the French-language publisher Des Editions du Gref, spoke about the death of Dutch-Canadian author Christine Dumitriu van Saanen, on Toronto’s CBC French Radio station April 9.
  • Figure skater Tugba Karademir, a York student, spoke about her brush with protesters as she carried the Olympic Torch in Turkey, where she is a member of the national Olympic team, on CITY-TV April 10.
  • James Stribopoulos , professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the case of a woman who was jailed so she could testify against her abuser, on CTV National News April 10.