As the Beijing Winter Olympics approaches and geopolitical tensions between China and the US continue to rise, the sponsors of the Games are “walking a tightrope.” As per a report by ANI, Mark DiMassimo, the founder and creative chief of DiGo, an advertising agency in New York stated that sponsors appear to be downplaying their engagement because of the US-China tensions. Last month, the White House called for a diplomatic boycott of the Games in protest over human rights violations in China’s western Xinjiang region.
The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada are among the countries that have declared a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, though their athletes will still compete. The governments of these countries have criticised China for alleged human rights violations against its minority Uyghur population in Xinjiang, as well as its actions in Tibet and Hong Kong. The Chinese government has, however, refuted all allegations of human rights violations on numerous occasions.
‘Can’t afford to insult the Chinese government’: Ex-US Olympic Committee member
China, on the other hand, has urged the world community to “depoliticise” sports and warned that countries may pay the price for their erroneous actions. Rick Burton, who is the former top marketing officer for the US Olympic Committee during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, stated that the global corporations were “walking a tightrope,” the BBC reported. He further said that he doesn’t think any of the sponsors can afford or are prepared to insult the Chinese government. However, since the rising tensions, there has been a significant decrease in tweets about the Beijing Olympics by the global sponsors compared to last year’s Summer Games in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, experts estimate that the Olympics’ major sponsors jointly pay billions of dollars to sponsor the Games, which includes organiser fees and additional marketing costs. However, analysts believe that their advertising campaign this year will be far more subdued than that figure suggests.
Who are the Olympic partners?
Airbnb, Alibaba, Allianz, Atos, Bridgestone, Coca-Cola, Intel, Omega, Panasonic, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Toyota, and Visa are the Olympics’ official global partners. All of the Olympic partners have stated that they are supporters of human rights, the BBC reported.
However, Zumretay Arkin, who is an official of the World Uyghur Congress stated that when she contacted the Olympic partners last year to request a meeting to discuss human rights violations, the reaction was silent.
(With inputs from ANI, Image: AP)