Sponsorship: Show Respect

In the lead up to the Olympic Games there has been much talk in the media about Telstra’s clever advertising that implies they are an official sponsor when in fact they are not. 

If you’re not familiar with the campaign, Telstra launched a ‘Go To Rio’ marketing campaign which promotes the ‘Olympics on Seven’ app and features the famous Peter Allen song ‘I Go To Rio’ playing throughout. 

The AOC commenced legal action against Telstra wanting them to pull the ads because they felt the ads mislead the public into believing they were an official sponsor of the Olympics when they are not. They have made it clear that Telstra is in no way associated with the Olympics, the Olympic athletes or the Olympic Committees. Unfortunately the AOC lost its federal court case against Telstra so Telstra is now free to run the ads with the AOC having to pay their legal costs. Telstra has since amended their ads to stipulate they are not an official Olympic sponsor.

So why is Telstra trying to jump on the Olympics bandwagon? The story goes that Telstra was the one to sever ties with the AOC last year. Is it a way of gaining favourable exposure without the financial outlay? Is this clever advertising or a slap in the face to the actual sponsors of the event. As it happens, Optus is an official sponsor. Is this fair to Optus? 

In the public eye its probably a case of ‘they’re two big companies, they'll sort it out’ and ‘who cares about the sponsors any way, we just want to watch the Olympics.’ What a lot of people don’t realise is in a lot of cases the sponsors make things happen. They may play a part in getting the athletes to Rio, for providing uniforms, funds for accommodation and the list goes on. If this were a tale of two small businesses battling it out would we be more sympathetic to the business that was in Optus’ shoes? I think regardless of whether you are a small business or a large corporation, the same rules apply. 

I mentioned in a previous post that sponsorship dollars are extremely hard to come by and as such the terms of the sponsorship should be respected. This is no different. If Telstra wanted to be seen as affiliated with the Olympics then they should have continued they’re relationship with the AOC. The Olympics is a time of setting aside differences and all nations coming together to compete for their countries so shouldn’t businesses take a leaf out of this book and show each other respect when it comes to fair business practice?