By: Brana Kosanić, Group Account Manager, Direct Media Serbia
When the world’s best athletes compete, they entertain and inspire the entire world. Seemingly without much effort these superhumans overcome the biggest obstacles, defy the laws of physics, and exceed set expectations. Watching them doing so elicits amazement across all generations. The values that they communicate will deeply touch people across all cultures, the tears of the medal bearer will melt even the hardest of hearts in their living rooms, and the immeasurable joy of each victory will be felt by viewers across continents.
This is because as humans – regardless of origin and mother tongue – we have deep respect for self-restraint, grit and persistence, for overcoming one’s own limits and striving for better results, for excellence. Everything that athletes go through during their careers in order to get closer to the title of the best causes admiration and respect.
Large companies have the opportunity to prove that they support these values through sponsorship – either at the global or local levels. Sponsorship goes beyond the visibility of the logo printed around the field and the audio message “the proud sponsors of,” as they create strong associations in the consumers’minds between the core values of the event and the brand. It takes years and high funds for specific values to begin to be associated with a brand, while sponsoring an appropriate big sports event can both accelerate this process and make it less costly.
This year, the owners of the license of the largest sports event in the world were determined to allow only the official sponsors to communicate about the games – a move that was greeted with hostility online. The sentiment about the Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter most frequently appear in comments along descriptions like “absurd,” “unbelievable,” “even more absurd,” or “no, this is not a joke.”
However, it would not be fair to allow anyone– without author’s approval and without materializing support to the athletes – to benefit from their very efforts. It would not be fair to let anyone sell more soft drinks or more shoes just because they lead us consumers to believe that they support the values that are so universally important to all of us. It is very possible that they do not in fact support any athletes. Nor do they have any rights to the values that have been settled since the ancient times.
This change of rules is difficult to accept because of its size and familiarity – we easily forget that this is someone’s intellectual property and not a common good, regardless of our identification with the values that this competition represents.
The number of sponsors is limited, and only the greatest can afford these amounts, while small local brands can be smart and, within the rules, find a way to compete in the battle of titans. But when this is done by large global companies, which were saving their budgets in the years between, while the official sponsors paid their dues– then it is not right at all.
This is precisely where the values of honesty are proven, instead of admiration that the Internet feels toward those who have managed to bypass these rules.