Channel Signal: Uvex vs. the IOC about a blond girl, plus killing wolves

Uvex gets slapped by the IOC over Lindsey Vonn, an athlete the goggle maker sponsors, and turns to the web to get the word out...humorously. Plus, Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse raise ire of some over wolf derby hunt sponsorship.
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Every month, Channel Signal will share some of its analyses of the major topics online in the outdoor industry with SNEWS®. The topics will range from promotions to marketing initiatives, to issues that have virally exploded into crises. What are the online conversations? What issues are bringing people into the conversation, and which ones are helping or hurting the growth of the outdoor industry?…you’ll find out Channel Signal’s viewpoint here.

Uvex and the “Blonde Skier it Sponsors”

The goggle maker Uvex recently had a run-in with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The company got “the call” from an IOC lawyer who said that under no circumstances could Uvex associate itself with skier Lindsey Vonn during the Olympics. And the legal eagle said she didn’t care if Uvex was a sponsor of Vonn.

So out came this from the Uvex website:

Blonde Who Uses Our Stuff Wins Downhill (Last Name Rhymes With "Bonn")

“There once was a lawyer from the IOC,

who called us to protect "intellectual property."

"During the Olympics," she said with a sneer,

"your site can't use an Olympian's name even if they use your gear."

"No pictures, no video, no blog posts can be used..."

Even if they are old? "No!", she enthused.

While Olympians chase gold the IOC pursues green.

Cough up millions, or your logo cannot be seen.

Except there it is, on top of countless heads!

Tax free endorsements the IOC dreads.

And so it is with a wink and a nudge

that we would like to congratulate a skier whose name we must fudge.

Her hair is long and blonde

Last name rhymes with the German city of Bonn.

Congratulations Women's Downhill winner

from all of us here at UVEX (no longer an IOC sinner).”

107 comments followed that poem on its site. The Associated Press wrote a quick story. And several other blogs with large traffic, like slashdot.org (2.5 million visits) and Boing Booing (over 2 million visits per month), picked up the poem and wrote articles. Many reader comments followed...almost all pro-Uvex. The issue is also getting a lot of play on Twitter.

The poem was, apparently, written by John Rowles, a blogger for Swix Sports, the U.S. distributor of Uvex. The poem has been taken down from the site.

And Channel Signal asks why?

This is a perfect example of Uvex, or one of its smart bloggers, using social media to outflank the IOC. In short, there is no silencing the opinions of the public. And Uvex, in a clever way, brought the issue into the light...and to its advantage.

Wolf Predator Derbies, brought to you by Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse

In November, Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse were sponsors of wolf-killing derbies in Idaho. 

The issue went unnoticed until Defenders of Wildlife took the two retailers to task by soliciting public support for stopping the practice and the sponsorships…asking people to either donate money or sign a petition.

Over 30 environmental blogs have taken up the cause, urging people to join the action to stop the predator killings and the retailers’ sponsorship.

A Twitter-based petition service -- http://act.ly -- helping to spread the anti-Cabela's message tweeted 56 times to more than 40,000 Twitter followers from influential users such as http://twitter.com/Rickbischoff and http://twitter.com/starfocus.

According to the Defenders of Wildlife Facebook page, 41,000 people have signed its online petition.

The issue has erupted on the Cabela’s Facebook page, which has over 70,000 followers. Cabela’s core hunting audience is siding with the retailer. However, there are strong voices on the other side of the issue who also seem to be a part of the retailer’s core user base.

Cabela’s response is that, in Idaho, the wolf-killing derby is legal.

“Cabela’s supports all legal hunting and fishing practices and stands beside the opinion of the state and federal wildlife agencies which rely on hunters and anglers to manage fish and wildlife populations. Predator hunting is an accepted and common method for managing game populations. We respect our customers’ right to engage in any legal method of outdoor recreation, particularly those designed to encourage active participation in the sporting heritage....”

Channel Signal has not been able to pick up any response from Sportsman’s Warehouse.

Traffic continues to build about the issue, most of it anti-wolf hunting. Although it should be said that, so far, the battle is focused and being waged between hunters and environmentalists.

Channel Signal is sure that Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse hope this doesn’t explode into the new media mainstream. If it does, look for both retailers to quietly halt their sponsorships, and begin the process of crisis management.

Channel Signal reminder: 84 percent of all brands launching new media programs do not measure ROI - Mzinga and Babson Executive Education.

If you don’t measure, you can’t manage. Channel Signal is a social media management program offering search backed by analysis, a focus on the outdoor industry, a work flow process for easy execution, and reporting for effective measurement. Channel Signal is a soup-to-nuts, cost-effective package. For more information, email Paul Kirwin at paul@channelsignal.com or go to www.channelsignal.com.

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