Trading of commemorative event pins has become something of a competitive event itself as Olympic pins have become valuable collectables to some. PETA has used this insight to ambush Vancouver’s Winter Olympics to protest against Canadian seal clubbing.
In direct legal conflict with the Vancouver Organising Committee and the IOC, this commemorative badge features bleeding Olympic rings in IOC colours and the logo has been reworked to show the Olympic mascot bludgeoning a seal. This is a direct, tough-talking and hard-hitting piece of guerilla marketing.
Whether this activity falls under VANCOV’s remit, or whether the IOC is in any position to do something about it at all seems distinctly unlikely. Nevertheless, the Winter Olympics is certainly a global platform for PETA’s protest.
PETA vice president Dan Matthews says ‘We hope to draw as much attention as possible to Canada’s Olympic-sized shame – the annual baby seal massacre’.
This initiative follows hot-on-the-heels of a more traditional print-based PETA campaign starring US snowboarder and charity fund raiser Hannah Teter called ‘Save The Seals’ which was also timed to coincide with her competing in the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Vancouver 2010 spokesperson Chris Brumwell says ‘We recognize that some organizations may use Vancouver 2010 and the Olympic spotlight as a vehicle to make themselves heard on issues un-related to the Games. We believe people will make a distinction between interest group campaigns and VANOC’s mandate to stage the 2010 Winter Games’.
Innovative – yes. Insightful – yes. Headline grabbing – yes. But will this guerilla message resonate with fans and spectators of the Winter Olympics? Who knows.