REAL WORLD MARKETING

Miscellaneous observations from an educational communicator’s perspective


The great Chinese logo cover-up Watching the Beijing Olympics, I was confused to see an athlete with a patch of duct tape stuck to her swimsuit. What was the tape covering—was it a form of personal protest? I quickly found an answer online: Beijing Olympic organizers tried to ensure that only the logos of official Olympic sponsors would be visible on television. I later learned that the Beijing “logo police” enthusiastically covered logos on bathroom fixtures, posters, light switches, thermostats, and more in the effort to control non-sponsor visibility. There were reports that curious visitors to the Olympics could not resist peeling away the tape to see what was hidden underneath.

I was surprised to learn that brand protection laws are not new to the Olympics, but have been in practice during past games as well. What is new is the level of enforcement by Chinese officials. I found that strange mix of authoritarianism and capitalism to be one of the more enduring impressions of the games.

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