Thursday, June 19, 2008

Olympic Sponsors Can’t Avoid Controversies in Beijing

By Dow Jones Insight Staff

For the 12 global sponsors of the Beijing Olympics, attaching their names means sharing in the glory and the positive images of the Games, but it can also associate their names with some of the more negative topics as well. Three of the sponsors – Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lenovo – received a significant amount of coverage, much of it unflattering, during the past month. Most of this coverage centered on the three companies’ sponsorship of the Olympic Torch Relay, which was targeted for protest by Free Tibet activists. Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lenovo were specifically targeted by the protesters for their perceived tolerance of China’s relationship with Tibet.

Of Coca-Cola’s 293 mentions in traditional and social media sources analyzed by Dow Jones Insight, 185, or 63%, were related to the issue of Tibet. Similarly, 103 of Lenovo’s total mentions, or 66%, and 89 of Samsung’s 126 mentions, or 71%, were related to Tibet. For Lenovo, all of its mentions occurred in the press, while Coca-Cola and Samsung each had most of their mentions in traditional media and a small number of mentions in social media. French company Atos Origin also garnered significant coverage related to Tibet, with 92 of its 184 total mentions, or 50%, relating to Tibet.

Most of the coverage for General Electric and McDonald’s, on the other hand, was associated with general human rights issues. Forty of McDonald’s 78 total mentions, or 51%, concerned human rights issues, including 29 mentions in social media and only 11 in the press. Of GE’s 87 total mentions, 40, or 46%, were related to human rights issues. More of these mentions appeared in social media than in the press, 23 versus 17.

Methodology: Analysis includes 6,000 newspapers, wires, magazines, radio and TV transcripts; about 13,000 current-awareness news sites; 60,000 message boards and about two million blogs.

No comments: