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Hockey legend plays both sides of 2010 branding battle

Corporate marketing has way less rules than hockey. You rarely have to worry about being offside. You can even play for both teams at once.

Hockey legend Cassie Campbell knows. She’s the vaunted face of one Winter Games sponsor and two ambush marketing campaigns.

Who wouldn’t want her? The Team Canada captain led her country to Olympic gold at Salt Lake City and Turin, then retired at the height of her glory.

McDonald’s will surely sell truckloads of burgers with Campbell’s visage adorning its 2010 Olympics-themed in-restaurant ads.

No wonder, also, that Scotiabank chose her to announce its “Show Your Colours” contest earlier this week. One problem though. While McDonald’s is an official Olympics sponsor, Scotiabank is not.

Campbell reportedly squirmed and shot desperate looks at bank executives when sceptical reporters cried “ambush marketing”.

“I’m proud to be an Olympic medalist,” she said, demurring on their questions. “As far as the business and political side of things, that’s best for people other than me.”

Campbell was right, of course. She is just an athlete -- albeit a Canadian sports legend with massive marketing appeal. And a “proud” partner of Gatorade, a Pepsi subsidiary that’s come under attack for its own ambush-style tactics.

How could Campbell weigh in, when the campaigns of her corporate backers aren’t really about athletics at all?

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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