Marketing

Majority of Americans want Olympic sponsors to speak out against China’s human rights record

Though it doesn’t appear likely that sponsors will actually take action.
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Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

· less than 3 min read

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When it comes to taking a stand, a majority of Americans want this year’s Olympic sponsors to make like Hilary Duff and raise their voice.

New Morning Consult data shows that nearly three in five consumers would strongly support or somewhat support companies that pulled out of the Beijing games “given China’s human rights record.” Even if sponsors remained in the games, the survey found that 55% of respondents would support those that released a “statement recognizing China’s human rights violations.”

And yet: It’s not likely brands will speak up or pull out, according to Morning Consult, as any action could “infuriate the Chinese government and consumers in the country, harming the companies’ business prospects in one of the world’s most lucrative markets, and tarnishing the companies’ partnerships with the International Olympic Committee for future Games.”

Who’s in: Top sponsors (aka those that dish out roughly $200 million every Olympics) include Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Visa, Nike, Delta Airlines, Salesforce, and Comcast.

  • Per The New York Times: Airbnb and Procter & Gamble said they were committed to the athletes and the Olympics as a whole, not just Beijing’s games; Omega said its policy is “not to get involved in certain political issues”; and Intel said it would comply with global sourcing laws, but didn’t comment on the Olympics specifically.
  • Nike has not spoken up on its Olympic involvement, but released a statement last year about being “concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” after reports of its involvement there.

+1: Coca-Cola told the Wall Street Journal it will only run an Olympic advertising campaign in China this year.—KH

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