Samsung Requires Olympic Athletes to Cover Apple Logos in Opening Ceremonies

| Editorial

You can't handle the truth!When you're trying to convince the world how awesome your smartphone is, nothing can be more frustrating than that world seeing the Olympic athletes you're sponsoring using someone else's device. Samsung's solution for this problem at the Sochi Olympic opening ceremonies is to deny reality and require athletes using iPhones to cover the Apple logo.

This was, apparently, a condition set by Samsung in exchange for sponsoring the Olympics in Sochi, a sponsorship that includes giving the athletes free Galaxy Note 3 devices. According to German-language site Bluewin (Google Translation), one of the conditions of that sponsorship is that athletes taking part in the much-ballyhooed opening ceremonies cover up the Apple logos on their iPhones.

In the age of the smartphone, while the public lavishes its attention on the Olympics, many athletes are themselves recording the event that's taking place all around them. All those happy, smiling, super fit folks holding up their devices makes for a compelling marketing message.

The problem for Samsung is that many of those devices are, of course, iPhones, and the idea of all those Apple logos being seen was apparently too much for the Suits at Samsung. Their answer? Cover up the truth and hope no one notices.

And really, that's kind of Samsung's modus operandi in a nutshell.

[Via Slashgear]

Image made with help from Shutterstock.



Quick, somebody make a bunch of stickers that say Samsung Sucks and I Hate Samsung and get them to the athletes. That’ll show those weaselly bastards.


To be fair, the original article (in Swiss German) states that Samsung is requiring all other logos to be covered.  Apple is not being singled out.

For sponsored product placements this is a fairly common requirement—especially sports presentations.  Any non-sponsored logo must be obscured.


Welcome to the former USSR, now known as the Users of Samsung Smartphones Republic.


I knew the drones would spin this. Sorry dudes, it’s SOP to not show logos on broadcasts and even more SOP to not show the competition’s logos. I read that in DUH magazine.

Lee Dronick

Now a word from our sponsor


Cudaboy: Nothing to spin here. Olympic games have changed from being a place where the youth of the world competes in sport, to a commercial enterprise, where the athletes are now so far down the list that they can be thrown out for using the wrong phone in public.


I heard Russian citizens can’t access servers outside of Russia, that they have a “closed loop” internet as China supposedly has. What this means for hacked info, who knows. 
Hey Lee, u come down from the ad fest known as the Super Bowl yet?
My subliminal rape filters were on so all I remember is: 
“We…... will build…....your car”


Hi Bryan, in first sentence “your sponsoring” should be “you’re sponsoring” wink


Woof. Tough room.


How is this even a story Bryan?


And what happens to athletes who don’t accept, ditch, sell or give away their SS and use their iPhones?
“Athlete Refused Participation for Sporting Apple iPhone”
Now that headline would turn heads.


daemon: How is this even a story Bryan?

Simple, daemon. This represents a further and non-subtle encroachment of commercial interest into amateur event sponsorship. Had Adidas demanded, when they sponsored a recent Olympics, that all other sportswear manufacturer’s logos be covered up, athletes and public alike would likely have balked. Instead, we still saw athletes with Nike trainers and others’ kit.

In our current era of technology company rivalry, we’ve accepted the anti-competitive zero sum game concept, with all of its asinine ramifications such as angst over the meaning of marketshare, thanks to the virtual MS PC dominance from the 90s onward, that only one company should ultimately win and all others be relegated to irrelevance.

No one will question Samsung’s sponsorship price, however faustian in future impact, even if it gets tech-press air time as most consumers are not tech geeks, don’t care about such matters, and continue to grant Samsung a pass for things for which Apple would be held accountable (such as Samsung’s continued treatment of Chinese labour and their dumping practices in low-income Asian markets - here, in this part of the world, all of this well-known but not reported in Western mainstream media).

I’m confident that had this been Apple’s price for sponsorship, the outpouring of criticism across the internet would have been thick and fast, whether or not Olympic organisers accept it as the new normal. It would have, rightly in my view, inspired a healthy global discussion on the limits of corporate sponsorship for these global events. Not so with Samsung.

In a word, standards of best business practice are not universally applied. Some are held to the highest standards of accountability, whilst others enjoy the benefits of laissez-faire.


It may be SOP for the Olympics, but the extension of that is that an athlete can only wear or use “sanctioned or sponsored” clothing or equipment. You will eat what we allow you to eat, you will wear what we allow you to wear, you will drive what we allow you to drive, you will talk only on the phones we allow…I’m not so sure that the olympics mean what they used to mean, if they ever did, due to the crass commercialism and the intense “win” at any cost.

The expense of olympic preparation must run into the multi-billions. If I were to watch competitive games, I would rather watch real people compete instead of athletes that had spent the whole of their 15 years of life, training to do nothing more than that. Win and they don’t have to work after the games, just cash in to the advertising opportunities; lose, and go home and realize that most of them are ill-prepared to do anything else. Maybe a fitness instructor?

I suppose I shouldn’t even bother myself with this since I haven’t watched any olympic contest since some time back in the 80s, and am unlikely to bother with any future events.


What if you covered up the Apple logo with an Apple sticker? You covered it up, didn’t you?

Lee Dronick

Well if it is just the opening ceremony and all logos are to be hidden then that is probably a good idea. Otherwise it would look like a NASCAR event. Last evening I saw a news segment about the snowboard team and the shirts that the athletes were wearing had a Nike logo over the right breast.

Speaking of news segments it was just announced that Sony is getting out of the PC business. They will focus on phones and tablets.


OK, all kidding aside.
These aren’t amateur athletes. They are part of a professional team, the Canadian Olympic Committee, The US Olympic Committee, the Wackistan Olympic Committee, whatever. The purpose, as with all professional teams, is to make money. All the jingoistic “cheer for your countries athletes” bit is just salesmanship. I many ways the athletes are the LEAST important part of the operation. They’re just interchangeable parts. If an athlete on the Olympic team gets hurt or misbehaves, they replace him, just like American Airlines would replace a mechanic that misbehaved, or Ford would replace an assembly line worker that didn’t follow corporate rules. Most importantly for this debate, as with the Bulls or the Marlins, or the Seahawks, or any other professional sports team, the athletes do what they are told, wear what they are told, go where and when they are told, and perform like trained seals whenever they are told. That’s the way professional sports works. If Samsung wanted them to wear the Samsung Logo on all the athletes uniforms and the Olympic Committee went along with it, they would, they’d have no choice.

The Olympics is just another professional sporting event, with an ugly veneer of jingoism. In reality it’s all about the corporations.

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