Well the past few weeks have been a picnic for advertisers due to the Grammys, the Super Bowl, and now the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While many advertisers have brought out the big guns as far as advertising content, there has also been a fair share of controversy among companies that embrace diversity like Coca-Cola’s “America is Beautiful” campaign or Chevrolet’s “The New Us” campaign.
These advertisements have been met with both high praise and extreme criticism by some Americans. Although racial tension is involved in the controversy, the hot button issue for Sochi is homosexuality. This year’s Winter Olympics seems super charged between advertisers and viewers alike due to the sensitive condition of Russia socially and politically. With the law in Russia banning “homosexual propaganda”, friction between activists all around the world could be a threat to Olympic revelries. As this advertising season in the United States has become an indication that social change is occurring in favor of the LGBT community, the policies in Russia have not followed suit. Due to cultural ideological differences, it makes sense that certain views don’t align amongst countries. But the polarizing effect of the issue could be a source of conflict in the coming days. Advertisers are concerned about these differences, but feel confident that the nature of the Olympics will be enough to prevent any major negativity towards the Olympics. The event is made to bring people together and the strong emotions surrounding the events will not affect Olympic ratings. It is the hope of many advertisers that controversial topics do not seep into the public’s mind and lead them away from tuning in to the Olympics and wasting tons of money on exclusive rights and time slots. Maybe the world can set aside social issues for a few weeks, but this makes me wonder if companies showing these ads are like a raspberry in the face of Sochi. The advertising ideas do appeal to a lot of Americans in a positive way, but how does Russia feel about being connected to ads that they would most likely find inappropriate for viewing by their citizens? While this is far from a huge international crisis, I find it interesting that the United States is on the horizon of accepting diversity while Russia seems to act rather the opposite.
Stuart, E. (2014, February 6). Fingers crossed, marketers count on olympic gold. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/business/media/fingers-crossed-marketers-count-on-olympic-gold.html?_r=0