The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is cautioning Canadian consumers about ambush marketing by The North Face and some of its Canadian retailers.
Recently, The North Face launched a line of clothing advertised as 2014 Village Wear (recently renamed International Collection), and The North Face and some of its Canadian retailers have promoted the clothing products using Olympic-themed advertising and promotions and in conjunction with a “2014 Sweepstakes” contest.
The North Face is not an official sponsor, supporter or licensee of the Canadian Olympic Team. Canadian consumers that purchase The North Face products believing they are purchasing official licensed Olympic gear are being misled.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee will vigorously defend its brand, including all its sponsors and licensees, against ambush marketing attempts to mislead Canadians,” ” said Christopher Overholt, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “I’m concerned that Canadians have purchased The North Face apparel assuming that by doing so they are supporting the Canadian Olympic Team, when that is just not the case. We expect The North Face to take immediate action to remedy the situation.”
In a terse statement released to the media, The North Face said it never intended to imply it was a sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team.
“The North Face has been a longstanding supporter of the freeskiing movement, including our sponsorship of Canadian Freeskiing athletes Mike Riddle and Yuki Tsubota,” the statement said. “We are not an official sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Committee or Team Canada and never indicated we were. We have no further comment.”
Canadians who wish to purchase official Canadian Olympic Team apparel or sporting equipment can do so through Hudson’s Bay (Official Outfitter of the Canadian Olympic Team), Canadian Tire/Sport Chek/Sports Experts (Official Sports Store of Canada’s Olympic Team) and Adidas (Official Supplier of Footwear to the Canadian Olympic Team and an Official Licensee of High Performance Apparel) both at retail and online.