Summer Olympics 2016: Battle of the Brands in Rio

Summer Olympics 2016: Battle of the Brands in Rio

Like many Americans, I'm following the summer games intensely. One thing that I always pay attention to, as a marketing guy, is branding; so every time I see Michael Phelps with his Beats headphones, I notice the logos are taped over with American flag stickers. It's an ongoing challenge between the International Olympic Committee and the athletes who have a right to use the consumer electronics items of their choice, but apparently don't have a right to display the corresponding logos.

Related: How to Watch the 2016 Summer Olympics on Your Apple TV or iPad

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At one point, Phelps' headset had the "b" logo covered, on the earcups, but not the "beats" wording on the headband part. That was corrected. And the athletes are prohibited from mentioning sponsors along with common "golden" phrases in their own tweets and other social media.

Still, unofficial brands make their way on to television coverage. I've noticed quite a few athletes, particularly in track and field, wearing fitness bands and even smart watches. I've seen a few athletes sporting Apple Watches in fact. It's surprising because you would think they would want to be as streamlined and lightweight as possible, during competition. After all, there are plenty of coaches and officials tracking their fitness and lap times. On the other hand, they may want to keep their routine, which likely includes wearing and using a device like an Apple Watch, when working out. Whatever works, as long as you get to wear another logo, featuring five interconnected rings, and in gold!

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.