Persuasion Notebook offers quick hits on the business of persuasion from The Globe and Mail’s marketing and advertising reporter, Susan Krashinsky. Read more on The Globe’s marketing page and follow Susan on Twitter @Susinsky.
To mark the day of the Winter Games opening ceremonies in Sochi, Russia, Google Inc. is using the most well-known expression of its brand – the doodle on its search engine’s home page – to make a statement.
The doodle, which changes frequently, was rendered on Friday in rainbow colours associated with gay pride. Pressure on companies associated with the Games has increased in the lead-up to the opening this week, as others have called on sponsors to speak up more forcefully against Russia’s anti-gay law.
Google is not an Olympic sponsor.
Its doodle on Friday did not use symbols such as the rings, which are protected for use by marketing partners. Instead, it showed sketches of different sports such as skiing, hockey and curling over each letter, in the rainbow colours.
Beneath the doodle, it posted a quote on the page from the Olympic Charter:
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
Issues of discrimination against gay people in Russia – including a law that was passed in July banning what it calls “propaganda” that portrays homosexuality as normal – has put some companies in the spotlight as they decide how to balance their Olympics marketing with these human rights concerns.