Paralympic Sponsor Getting Grief From Athletes


Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 28, 2012 02:44 PM

Eleven companies shelled out megabucks to be named worldwide partners for the London Olympic Games. Three of them are sticking around to do the same for the Paralympics that kick off Wednesday: Atos, Samsun, and Visa.

So you’d think people would celebrating these brands that are supporting such an awesome and noble event that will get a sliver of the coverage that Usain Bolt alone got in the United States.

But, well, no. Atos is catching some major grief this week because Brits aren’t liking “its handling of a £100m-a-year contract with the (government) to assess whether people claiming for sickness and disability benefits are fit for work,” according to Marketing Week. 

A week of action against Atos commenced yesterday by such groups as Disabled People Against Cuts and UK Uncut, which claim that the company has “devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of disabled people” in the United Kingdom, Marketing Week reports.

And what could make things more difficult for Atos on the PR front is that some British Paralympians are espousing anti-Atos sentiments as well. The protest includes a protestors showing up at Atos offices across Britain today and “a coffin full of messages” to be delivered to the company tomorrow as well as a rally in London on Friday.

Not likely how Atos execs were thinking they’d spend the beginning of the Paralympics. Of course, earlier this summer, it was also dealing with threats of strikes from some of its workers. What should have been a good summer for Atos hasn’t gone quite right. 

That’s not stopping them from predicting a glowing future, though. Atos Singapore spokesman Gregoire Gillingham predicted earlier this summer that holographic technology will be so good by 2024 that sports fans around the world will be able to attend the Olympics in their local sports arena and watch holograms of those competing from across the globe. “We predict that it will be possible to show holograms in a stadium within 10 to 15 years and the concept of a ‘live’ event being projected via holograms into other stadiums filled with spectators to be a realistic prediction,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

That means, of course, that there will be lots of hologram protestors in attendance, too.

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