Olympics organisers have forgotten what they stand for

Anant Rangaswami Aug 9, 2011
http://www.firstpost.com/world/olympics-organisers-have-forgotten-what-they-stand-for-56805.html

Have you ever heard of a company called Palomar Pomerado Health? No? I hadn’t either, till yesterday.
Their website says that “Palomar Pomerado Health receives hundreds of requests each year to financially sponsor events: street fairs, luncheons, galas, rotaries, chambers of commerce etc. In order for us to promptly and appropriately process your organization’s request, we ask that you read the following information. Our goal is to ensure that you receive a timely response.”
Approval for requests depends on several factors, says the website, and I list some of them.
• The sponsorship activity must be consistent with the values, purpose and goals of PPH.
• Any sponsorship agreement must not compromise the professional standards and ethics of the PPH organisation.
• Direct sponsorship agreements will only be negotiated with organisations whose public image, products and services are consistent with the values, purpose, goals and specific policies of PPH.
• Any company or organizsation whose name is associated with the manufacture, distribution or sale of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, pornography or armaments is not regarded as an appropriate sponsor. This would not necessarily preclude involvement with local supermarkets and other businesses provided that their name is not linked to inappropriate products.
• When considering an organisation as a potential sponsor, PPH will evaluate the appropriateness of: the type of products or services the organization markets, the marketing methods used, and its public image as an employer.
Palomar Pomerado Healthcare, an organisation none of us had heard of till this moment, is concerned about the negative rub-off if they chose to sponsor an activity which is found inconsistent with the ‘values, purposes and goals’ of the organisation.
The sponsorship should not ‘compromise the professional standards and ethics’ of PPH.
PPH will ‘evaluate the appropriateness of the public image as an employer’.
PPH seems more worried about the cost of association with a poor brand than the London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) in the context of their decision to accept Dow Chemicals as a partner.
Other (worldwide) partners include Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, P&G, Samsung and Visa.
How do they see London 2012’s association with Dow, one wonders?
In one fell swoop, all the attention is focused on a single newcomer, a Johnny-come-lately in the Olympic sponsorship arena. Coke and McDonalds have been sponsors for multiple Games, and have reaped the benefits of the association.
Sporting events, worldwide, have attracted dodgy brands with questionable credentials, and ethics issues have been raised time and again.
Tobacco and alcohol brands were the first to be targeted – F1, for example.
“Although tobacco companies have been the main source of financial backing in Formula One, some alcohol brands have also been associated with the sport. For example, Budweiser appears on the WilliamsF1 car and the Foster’s Group (with the Foster’s Lager brand) sponsor numerous circuits around the world, most notably Fosters Australian Grand Prix in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Becks had been Jaguar’s sponsor. Johnnie Walker has sponsored McLaren since 2006,” says Wikipedia.
When the money is easy, forget the conscience, sports organisers seem to say.
We’ve seen the absence of conscience closer to home, with the Sahara group’s logo emblazoned on the shirts of the Indian cricket team. Invest in Sahara at your own risk, says the Indian Express, but the BCCI couldn’t care too much.
The important point to note is that the F1 and the BCCI, in the two illustrations that we’ve seen, are private, for-profit organisations, while the Olympic Games is not.
Sporting events, worldwide, have attracted dodgy brands with questionable credentials, and ethics issues have been raised time and again. AFP
Here’s what the first two points in latest Olympic charter say:
1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
Let’s quote from the Charter:
“the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
“to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”
In accepting the sponsorship from Dow, has the LOGOC forgotten to read the very beginning of their own charter?
Or is the money just too tempting?

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