A Word from Our Sponsors
Pepsi apparel is banned at the Olympic games because Coca Cola is a sponsor. Nike gear is also discouraged because Adidas is a major games advertiser. Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said the rule is meant to protect event sponsors. Olympics fans are torn about the new rule, some arguing that it gives sponsors too much power and others that it gives credit to those who are making the events possible. (Lord Coe did state sponsors pay for most of the events.)
From a promotional products standpoint, I understand the rule. No one wants to spend time and money creating an advertising campaign only to have it undermined by event-goers wearing a competitor's gear. That being said, I have a few logistical questions:
1. Pepsi owns more brands than cola, most of which compete with Coca Cola brands. Are all event spectators expected to know that Gatorade and Tropicana are banned, but Powerade and Minute Maid are safe?
2. When spectators choose outfits for the games, won't their nation's colors or the uniforms of their favorite athletes be the most likely choices, so why bother making a rule?
The ban seems to be a way to discourage Pepsi and other sponsor competitors from creating Olympic-themed apparel and accessories, rather than to dictate the wears of spectators. We'll see in the coming weeks how seriously the ban is taken or if Pepsi has a response. For now, I'll wait in carbonated trepidation and sip my unnamed diet soda of choice.