March 7th, 2012

Top Secret: Durex's Olympic Condoms

By Matthew Boyle
Bloomberg Business Week

The more than 10,000 athletes at this year’s London Olympics will receive free condoms in the Olympic Village from Durex, the world’s top-selling brand and part of England’s Reckitt Benckiser Group. But Reckitt Benckiser isn’t trumpeting its tie to the event, traditionally a marketing bonanza for big brands such as Coca-Cola (KO) and McDonald’s (MCD). “We’re restricted by the Olympics’ organizing committee guidelines on what we can and can’t say,” says company spokeswoman Andraea Dawson-Shepherd.

That’s because Reckitt Benckiser isn’t one of the companies that have plunked down £1 billion ($1.6 billion) to be official sponsors of the London Games. Among those is Procter & Gamble (PG), whose household products compete fiercely with Reckitt Benckiser’s around the world. To protect its partners, the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has cracked down on non-sponsors trying to hijack the Games through ambush or guerrilla marketing.

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