Coke Sponsors Winter Olympics By Not Really Telling America About It

Illustration for article titled Coke Sponsors Winter Olympics By Not Really Telling America About It

Shh, but gay rights activists are alleging that Coca-Cola doesn’t really want America to know that they’re sponsoring the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. It might be the television channels I’m watching, but I haven’t seen any Coke commercials for the Games in the States now that I think about it.


However: When I logged onto Coke's website, I saw one promotion tied to the Olympics (shown above) but not launching a national campaign does seem odd for the international powerhouse.

In contrast, the beverage company has reportedly drenched Sochi in advertisements. Coca-Cola is working to increase its share of the Russian beverage market and sponsoring the Winter Games, which is also President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to make the country look shiny, new and safe, is a great opportunity. Except for the gay thing, which is a big deal, what with Putin warning gays to stay away from Russian children, and President Obama sending all the gays he could find to the Games as delegates. In addition there is an image of an Olympic security guard sporting the Coke logo on his uniform allegedly roughing up a gay rights protestors in Sochi as an elderly man nearby holds a flag also bearing Coke's logo. We are the world ...

We know that Olympic sponsors – particularly American ones – have been squirming for months now, in response to the sustained outcry from gay rights advocates over Russia’s crackdown on its gay and trans citizens. The International Olympic Committee even admitted it back in September:

“I have heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, of what they are afraid of might happen,” IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg said. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us,” he added, saying the IOC would enforce its rules against demonstrations.

Things are so bad, one marketing expert dubbed Sochi “the danger games” for advertisers.

Lol at “the danger games.” But seriously folks, the news surrounding Sochi is not getting any better and it really makes me wonder, why the world gave Russia the Olympics in the first place?

Image via Coca-Cola



Obviously Coke is not going to avoid the entire Russian market because of its homophobia, but as a gay person, I have to note that it says a lot about how far we've come in the US that a giant corporation like Coca-Cola would forgo an opportunity to be associated with the Sochi Olympics in front of US audiences because of Russia's human rights disaster.