Sochi Olympic Committee Serious About Unauthorised Associated Marketing

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Explore:  Marketing Olympics

American lighter company Zippo quickly removed an image from its Facebook page where it suggested that one of the company’s lighter products saved the Olympic torch relay by reigniting the Olympic flame which had blown out during the start of the Russia wide torch relay. 

The site showed a photo of a Russian federal security guard relighting the torch with a lighter, which the company claimed was a Zippo model. Zippo also blogged on the Twitter site the hash tag #ZippoSavesOlympics.  The posts were brought to the attention of Sochi Olympic authorities, who contacted the company and arranged for their removal on the grounds that they were associating themselves with The Games whilst not being an official sponsor.

Given Russia’s checkered past in enforcing IP rights, including numerous past incidents of copy-cat marks and ambush marketing efforts, the quick response suggests that the Sochi officials are taking their sponsor exclusivity obligations seriously.