Rapper ambushes London Olympics
In the spring, The Sports IQ wrote about how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) would be taking an aggressive stance toward deterring and even prosecuting those in violation of the strictly worded London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 during the 2012 London Games.
Just a couple of days into the Summer Olympics and the IOC and LOCOG are being tested regarding their policies toward ambush marketing. Rapper Dr. Dre’s headphone company, Beats, apparently sought out members of the Great Britain Olympics squad, handing out specially designed headphones emblazoned with the host country’s colors. The headphones have been adorned by several prominent British Olympians in various sports.
The practice is a direct violation of the Act 2006, which was passed in an attempt to protect the brands of those corporations who paid millions to become official corporate sponsors of the 2012 Olympics. Electronics-maker Panasonic is the official “audio visual partner” of the 2012 Games.
When The Sports IQ wrote about ambush marketing at the Olympics, past examples cited focused specifically on companies utilizing fans and attendees to assist in the abmush marketing tactics. But with Beats, the company has targeted the host country’s athletes, which could create even more hostility from the IOC and LOCOG. It will be interesting to see how much pressure the two groups elect to apply toward Dr. Dre and his company.
Even if the IOC and LOCOG don’t fight back against Beats, fans attending the events are expressing their displeasure … not with the company’s ambush marketing, but rather with the athletes wearing headphones altogether. Some fans and members of the media are critical of the headphone-wearing athletes for blocking out the crowd noise and thus not “soaking in” the full atmosphere of the Olympics. The athletes, however, contend the use of music and ability to block out potentially distracting crowd noises helps them remain focused prior to competition. This, perhaps, will lead to another blog post on this site about the potential benefits of listening to music prior to athletic competition.