Between a global pandemic, a diplomatic boycott and sinking ratings, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing face big challenges.
In addition to the rise of the Omicron variant, which continues to spread across the globe, this year’s Games are facing backlash for hosting in China, where human rights violations are being carried out against the Uyghur Muslim population and the government continues to make anti-democratic advances in Hong Kong.

While no advertisers have pulled out of the Games over diplomatic issues yet, media buyers tell me they are watching the situation and monitoring conversations on social media closely.

“These days, there’s always the idea in the back of their head of, ‘Is this going to hurt my brand in any way shape or form?’” Stacey Stewart, U.S. chief marketplace officer at UM, tells me. “A lot will depend on what that brand is, what they stand for or if they’ve made public statements before.”

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