On Tuesday, Guinness released an amazing ad that everyone should watch. There's only one problem — from Jan. 30 until Feb. 26 it's being banned from television.
Over a black and white photo, the ad tells the story of Tracy and Lanny Barnes, biathlete twins who trained to compete in Sochi games, the last Winter Olympics for which they'd be eligible. When Lanny fell too ill to compete and was elimnated in the tryouts, Tracy, who made the cut, selflessly sacrificed her spot so her sister could compete. It's a beautiful and inspiring ad that you should watch for yourself.
Perhaps the only thing that matches this amazingly remarkable story are the amazingly ludicrous rules banning the ad until the end of February. Why the blackout? U.S. Olympic Committee rules dictate that marketers who are not official sponsorsof the games are generally banned from featuring Olympic competitors in their ads, and Diageo-owned Guinness is not a USOC sponsor.
Olympic competitors must receive permission to appear in ads from the International Olympic Committee executive board and are usually granted permission to appear in USOC sponsored ads, but are most often denied permission when the ad in question is for a company that competes with a sponsor — in this case: Budweiser, which is an official sponsor for Team USA.
These rules and regulations are clearly skewed to make sponsors money and shut out competitors. But what'sespecially ironic in this instance is that fact that this Guinness ad depicts ane amazing act of selflessness. At least someone's got the true Olympic spirit.