For all the talk of Rule 40 and the limitations it places on Olympic athletes hoping to promote their sponsors during the Games, one unofficial sponsor appears to have found a way to sneak in under the radar.
Beats by Dr. Dre brand headphones are almost as common on some Olympians as their country's track suits. The fashion accessory/audio necessity can be seen dangling around the necks and affixed to the heads of athletes from many nations as they relax in their dorms, take in the scene at the local mall, and even as they warm up for their respective events. Athletes have tweeted pictures of themselves with the headphones as well. That's a no-no under Rule 40.
One local reporter tracked down exactly how the good Dr. may be pulling off the guerrilla marketing coup. He followed athletes to an unassuming storefront near Olympic Village where the following goes down: "Athletes from the top 20 countries from the last Olympics have been invited. You walk in, have your photo taken in front of the 'b' logo and receive a pair of headphones in your team colors."
So far, only one country's Olympics officials have noticed. According to the AP: "British Olympic Association spokesman Darryl Seibel said Thursday that officials have reminded team leaders of ''the importance of protecting our corporate partners'' and of rules against endorsing commercial products on Twitter. Seibel said British athletes are welcome to wear headphones made by games sponsor Panasonic."
Image above: China's Sun Yang sporting Beats by Dr. dre (© Fabrice Coffrini/GettyImages)