Samsung is giving a free Galaxy Note 3 to every athlete competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics, butÂ those who receive one are reportedly required to ensure that the Apple logo is nowhere to be seen if they use an iPhone to record events at the opening ceremonies.
Olympians have increasingly turned to smartphones to capture photos and video of the festivities, and the handsets are often caught by television cameras covering the event. Samsung wants to ensure its brand is the only one seen, according to a report from Slashgear.
Samsung's plan was outed by members of the Swiss Olympic team, who noticed the guidelines inserted into the athletes' gift bags.
The Olympics provide an unparalleled advertising opportunity, with television coverage spanning the globe. Though figures for 2014 are unknown, it is thought that Samsung spent at least $100 million to sponsor the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Under the headline "iPhone forbidden at Olympics opening ceremony," the image above is captioned, "If Beat Feuz had an iPhone and wanted to take photos of the Olympics opening ceremony, he'd have to cover the Apple logo."
Swiss website Watson.ch (in German, Google Translate) notes that Samsung is giving Winter Olympic Games athletes a free Galaxy Note 3, tied to the requirement that they must cover up the Apple logos on their iPhones when appearing on TV.
A parallel report by Bluewin.ch (in German, Google Translate) similarly noted that, as a requirement for gifts received, 'any athletes attending the opening ceremony and taking photos or videos with a competing product would need to cover up the Apple logo.'
Samsung's expensive promotions running into failure
Last year alone, Samsung spent $14 billion on marketing, a figure that investors have targeted as extravagantly excessive. But even as the company works to reduce its marketing expenses, Samsung is struggling with expensive sponsorships where celebrities have put their free Galaxy back in the box to use iPhones.
At the last Summer Olympics, Samsung signed an "exclusive agreement with David Beckham to be its global brand ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games," but Beckham was, embarrassingly for Samsung, just spotted using his iPhone 5s at the Super Bowl.
Samsung has regularly experienced difficulty in avoiding embarrassment after key sponsors continued using iOS devices, most notably via Twitter. In December, Samsung launched a "Galaxy 11" fantasy soccer team campaign that was intended to go viral, but instead went awry when star team manager Franz Beckenbauer tweeted out Samsung's prepared remarks from his iPhone.
In October, T-Mobile chief executive John Legere intended to use Twitter to direct attention to Samsung Mobile's latest Note 3 phablet and the company's Galaxy Gear watch accessory, but inadvertently did so via his iPhone 5s.
Last spring, Samsung's sponsored Spanish tennis star David Ferrer tweeted out ostensible satisfaction with his #GalaxyS4 and stated that he was "configuring S Health on my new #GalaxyS4 to help with training @SamsungMobile," albeit from his iPhone.