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Puck legend Campbell taken aback by Olympic questions

Canadian hockey legend Cassie Campbell must have felt ambushed when media peppered her with questions at a Scotiabank press conference in Vancouver yesterday.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist was there to share her “proudest Canadian moments” to coincide with the bank’s “Show Your Colours” contest.

But instead of reminiscing of Olympic gold, she had to explain why Scotiabank – not an Olympic sponsor – was piggybacking off the Winter Games by launching an ambush marketing campaign.

“That’s not a fair question,” Campbell squirmed, desperately looking over her shoulder at Scotiabank executives for a lifeline. “I’m proud to be an Olympic medalist. As far as the business and political side of things, that’s best for people other than me.”

Scotiabank’s director of sponsorships and brand management, Jim Tobin, eventually jumped in to defend the contest, which encourages people to send in patriotic photos of themselves from now to April 4.

Marketing materials features cheering fans wearing red and white jerseys and face paint but Tobin says they’re confident the campaign doesn’t infringe on any Olympic advertising rules.

“We are absolutely comfortable to engage our customers at this great time,” Tobin said. “[VANOC] expressed some concerns and we’re working for a mutually agreeable solution.”

VANOC, on the other hand, wants to see the campaign canned until after the Olympics and said as much in media statement.

“As soon as we became aware of this campaign we acted immediately to advise this company of our serious concerns of the public being misled into believing there is an association between the 2010 Winter Games and their campaign,” Bill Cooper, VANOC director of commercial rights management, said. “They quickly made some changes to respond to our concerns and we fully expect that our request to postpone their campaign... will be respected.”

Matt Kieltyka reports for Vancouver 24 hours

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