With exactly 100 days to go until the Sochi Olympics, gay rights protesters have launched a handful of social media campaigns against longtime sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung, voicing concerns over Russia’s anti-gay legislation.
“Sochi potentially is the danger Games,” one marketing executive tells The Chicago Tribune. “With these major world events, companies are looking for a halo effect for the brand. Sochi is big and high profile but such events are becoming platforms for social and political protest.
The International Olympic Committee has already acknowledged that sponsors, who pay roughly $100 million for marketing rights, are concerned about the legislation’s impact.
“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 told CNN. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us.”
One current online campaign is calling for Coca-Cola executives to speak out against the anti-gay law.
By Monday, 350,000 people worldwide signed an online petition circulated by SumOfUs.org, a global consumer watchdog organization.
“Coca-Cola is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence both the International Olympic Committee and Russian leaders,” Joe Mirabella, Director of