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The real dilemma

The real dilemma EDITORIAL Editorial For China, the 29th Olympic Games represent an for an effective marketing communications strategy. important juncture in the country’s history. Having But it is the response of Coca-Cola to the torch relay emerged from 20th century communism, China has debacle that has really highlighted the problems entered a new era characterised by state-controlled corporations must deal with if faced with the capitalism, a drive for international competitiveness simultaneous juxtaposition of an ethical dilemma, and a more outward-looking approach. Clearly the direct consumer action and the opportunities transition has been successful in some regards: recent presented by mass markets. economic growth figures were among the highest in Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive of the world. The wealth this has helped to create is one Coca-Cola, writing in the Financial Times, walked a of the foundations upon which the Games have been very thin line between condemning and condoning built. The event itself, in turn, represents a significant what had happened, without doing either. Clearly opportunity for China to present a modern face to the aware that he had to appease an anti-Chinese mass world and to assert its status as a world power, both (a very large and powerful market), while not economically and in sporting terms. disaffecting the Chinese population (another very large The country has taken every opportunity to promote and powerful market), Isdell stressed that his its hosting of the Games. This has included the now- corporation was working positively to promote a range infamous global torch relay, which although intended of initiatives in Sudan, a country where China has to be a shared celebration, had the opposite effect in some influence. In essence, Isdell seemed to be some countries, highlighting social and political suggesting that the way forward for sponsors was not grievances associated with Chinese sovereignty and its to antagonise either side in such arguments, but to preparations for the Games themselves. build positive links between the two. While it is not the intention of the Journal to This is an interesting approach, and one that challenge or defend the Chinese position, we do supplements my view that direct action, such as that question the impact and response of those in sport taken by professional cycling sponsors including who are directly affected by what has happened so far. Adidas and T-Online, is the most effective form of It seems we are now being tested in a completely new market-led response. A collaborative model of arena: a sponsorship property that is arguably the engagement now seems to on the table, whereby a most valuable in the world; a global mega-event that sponsor serves as the missing link between irate is staged in summer only once in four years; and a stakeholders and the world’s major sporting properties. host country that is an incredibly important The question is: which is the right approach? Are we marketplace, especially for the corporations that have really to believe that a ‘Coke and a smile’ will be the power and resources to associate themselves with enough to fundamentally address the global issues in an event such as the Olympics. which sport can become embroiled? Ahead of the 2012 Games in London, one already senses that some of the UK domestic sponsors have been disconcerted by what they witnessed in the streets of the British capital in early April. The pictures of well-known British celebrities being grappled to the floor by protestors and protected by anonymous Chinese minders were hardly the strongest foundation Simon Chadwick, Editor l l JULY 2008 International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship 2 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
1464-6668
DOI
10.1108/IJSMS-09-04-2008-B002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

EDITORIAL Editorial For China, the 29th Olympic Games represent an for an effective marketing communications strategy. important juncture in the country’s history. Having But it is the response of Coca-Cola to the torch relay emerged from 20th century communism, China has debacle that has really highlighted the problems entered a new era characterised by state-controlled corporations must deal with if faced with the capitalism, a drive for international competitiveness simultaneous juxtaposition of an ethical dilemma, and a more outward-looking approach. Clearly the direct consumer action and the opportunities transition has been successful in some regards: recent presented by mass markets. economic growth figures were among the highest in Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive of the world. The wealth this has helped to create is one Coca-Cola, writing in the Financial Times, walked a of the foundations upon which the Games have been very thin line between condemning and condoning built. The event itself, in turn, represents a significant what had happened, without doing either. Clearly opportunity for China to present a modern face to the aware that he had to appease an anti-Chinese mass world and to assert its status as a world power, both (a very large and powerful market), while not economically and in sporting terms. disaffecting the Chinese population (another very large The country has taken every opportunity to promote and powerful market), Isdell stressed that his its hosting of the Games. This has included the now- corporation was working positively to promote a range infamous global torch relay, which although intended of initiatives in Sudan, a country where China has to be a shared celebration, had the opposite effect in some influence. In essence, Isdell seemed to be some countries, highlighting social and political suggesting that the way forward for sponsors was not grievances associated with Chinese sovereignty and its to antagonise either side in such arguments, but to preparations for the Games themselves. build positive links between the two. While it is not the intention of the Journal to This is an interesting approach, and one that challenge or defend the Chinese position, we do supplements my view that direct action, such as that question the impact and response of those in sport taken by professional cycling sponsors including who are directly affected by what has happened so far. Adidas and T-Online, is the most effective form of It seems we are now being tested in a completely new market-led response. A collaborative model of arena: a sponsorship property that is arguably the engagement now seems to on the table, whereby a most valuable in the world; a global mega-event that sponsor serves as the missing link between irate is staged in summer only once in four years; and a stakeholders and the world’s major sporting properties. host country that is an incredibly important The question is: which is the right approach? Are we marketplace, especially for the corporations that have really to believe that a ‘Coke and a smile’ will be the power and resources to associate themselves with enough to fundamentally address the global issues in an event such as the Olympics. which sport can become embroiled? Ahead of the 2012 Games in London, one already senses that some of the UK domestic sponsors have been disconcerted by what they witnessed in the streets of the British capital in early April. The pictures of well-known British celebrities being grappled to the floor by protestors and protected by anonymous Chinese minders were hardly the strongest foundation Simon Chadwick, Editor l l JULY 2008 International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship 2

Journal

International Journal of Sports Marketing and SponsorshipEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 1, 2008

There are no references for this article.