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Sochi Olympics officials extinguish Zippo's social media campaign

October 09, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Screenshot of Zippo Facebook page.
Screenshot of Zippo Facebook page. (Screenshot from Facebook )

Olympic officials have doused a social media campaign by the maker of Zippo lighters, the American company playing off a miscue in the torch relay.

The trouble began earlier this week as the relay for the 2014 Sochi Games traveled through the streets of Moscow. The torch flickered out and a man in the crowd helped reignite it with a silver cigarette lighter.

Zippo quickly published a photograph of the incident on Facebook and began a Twitter campaign with the hashtag: #ZippoSavesOlympics.

All of this represented a potential unauthorized use of Sochi's Olympic emblem. Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Sochi organizing committee, soon tweeted that he was "working on" the situation, according to the RIA Novosti news service.

David Warfel, the global marketing director for Zippo, told RIA Novosti that Sochi officials contacted his company. The offending picture was subsequently removed from Facebook.

“It was never meant to imply that somehow we had any relationship or sponsorship with the Olympic committee at all,” Warfel said, adding, "It was a little bit of whimsy on our part.”

By Wednesday, the company's Facebook page featured an image of a lighter half-buried in the snow with the caption: "Perfect for all winter games. *wink wink*" 

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