‘Brands Walk Fine Line With Olympic Pitches Amid Criticism Over Beijing’

“Advertisers are treading carefully when it comes to peddling their products and services during February’s Beijing Winter Olympics, which have been shrouded by criticism over China’s human-rights record,” Suzanne Vranica at The Wall Street Journal reports. “Some brands are considering not including any references to the host city in their Olympic marketing efforts, according to advertising and marketing executives. Others plan to run non-Olympic-themed ads during the Games. Some are turning to public relations outfits for help to navigate the politics that have surrounded the event.” …

“Mark DiMassimo, founder of ad firm DiMassimo Goldstein, said some of his clients are considering running evergreen ads rather than create specific Olympic-themed commercials for the 17-day event, which is set to start on Feb. 4 and be broadcast in the U.S. by NBCUniversal. … Optimum Sports, a sports-marketing firm, said it has been advising brands to make sure their Olympic ads focus squarely on promoting the athletes. ‘The safest area for any brand supporting the Games,’ said Jeremy Carey, Optimum’s managing director, ‘is to say this is about the athletes.’”

Who Had the Worst Week?

  • Denver travelers can expect DIA construction headaches for another six or seven years under a plan to complete the Great Hall Project proposed by DIA CEO Phil Washington. The new plan will add a little more than $1 billion to the project, giving it a total price tag of $2.1 billion.
  • Deputy District Attorney Kayla Wildeman of the Colorado First Judicial District (Jeffco and Gilpin counties) managed to redirect some of the outrage directed at her boss, District Attorney Alexis King, when she shared a Facebook post of a trophy she received for obtaining a 110-year sentence for runaway trucker Rogel Aguilera-Mederos.
  • Despite Colorado’s historically dry fall, Douglas County commissioners approved a holiday fireworks display that quickly devolved into a series of brush fires. Firefighters were able to get the fires under control before they caused damage, while Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock noted, “Personally, in my opinion, the firework displays were not a great idea.”
  • Less than a week on the job as interim president of the University of Louisville, Lori Stewart Gonzalez presided over the school’s winter graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, during her speech she accidentally referred to the school as its arch-rival University of Kentucky. After realizing her mistake, she joked, “If anyone has a job application I could fill in after tonight, bring it up here.”
  • Facebook was named the “Worst Company of 2021” in a survey conducted by Yahoo Finance. “Those surveyed have a ‘litany of grievances’ toward Facebook, including but not limited to concerns over censorship, reports about Instagram’s impact on mental health, and privacy.”
  • Colorado’s highway system “ranks 37th in the nation for its overall condition and cost-effectiveness, according to the latest annual report from the Reason Foundation, a libertarian organization.” In fairness, we face climate challenges many other states do not.
  • The NFL’s New York Giants appear to be inadvertently trolling their own fans. The team, which currently is 4-10 and in last place in their division, wanted to do something to thank fans for their continued support during the team’s historically bad five-year run (they are a combined 22-56 since 2017). The result: season ticket holders will receive a free medium Pepsi at this Sunday’s game. For the record, it’s the “medium” that makes this art.

So who won the week?

Runaway-Trucker Prosecutor Somehow Manages to Look Even Worse by Showboating After Excessive Sentence

If you thought the backlash to the 110-year sentence that First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King obtained against the runaway trucker Rogel Aguilera-Mederos couldn’t get worse, you would be wrong. Deputy District Attorney Kayla Wildeman, who prosecuted the case along with a colleague, shared a Facebook post of a trophy she received after obtaining the verdict – a semi truck brake shoe with a gold plaque.

District Attorney King quickly distanced herself from it, saying “The post was in very poor taste and does not reflect the values of my administration. We have addressed it internally.” Meanwhile, James Colgan,, Aguilera-Mederos’ defense attorney, called the gift “unprofessional.”

Tristan Gorman, the legislative policy coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, told The Denver Post, “It obviously flies in the face of the prosecution’s ethical obligation to seek justice rather than a conviction… It’s just bragging rights about a trial win, where people on both sides, their lives were either ended or forever changed. The tone of it seems almost like the prosecutor is treating it like a game she won.”

Who Had the Worse Week?

  • Colorado craft breweries are reeling after Ball Corp. announced it could no longer fill aluminum can orders smaller than one million units.
  • Colorado First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King obtained a “grossly excessive sentence” of 110 years in prison for Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, the runaway trucker who killed four people on I-70 in 2019. The judge in the case had no alternative sentencing options based on the charges King brought. After the public backlash, King quickly backpedaled and now says she would “welcome” a reconsideration of the prison term.
  • It has been one of the most interesting and challenging years in most of our lifetimes, and inexplicably Time Magazine decided that Elon Musk deserved its “Person of the Year” honor. It did not go over well.
  • Car manufacturers have long looked jealously at the way tech companies have used subscriptions to grow what’s called monthly recurring revenue (MRR). MRR is the reason you now pay monthly for a subscription to Office 365 rather than buying the software in a one-time transaction. Toyota has joined the fray and now wants drivers to pay an $8/month charge to use the start feature on their cars’ key fobs.
  • We don’t pay teachers nearly enough, but the least we can do is not rub their noses in it. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened in South Dakota when a local hockey team sponsored a “Dash for Cash” that pitted 10 teachers against each. As you might expect, the backlash was swift.
  • Bros’, a Michelin-starred eatery in Italy, was the subject of the most brutal restaurant review since The New York Times took down Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant.
  • The decision to kill off the Mr. Big character on the first episode of the “Sex and the City” reboot (sorry for last week’s spoiler, Jenn Beck) may make more sense after new reports that multiple allegations of sexual assault were leveled against actor Chris Noth.
  • Urban Meyer may have been a college coaching legend, but his tenure as an NFL head coach lasted less than a year.

So who won the week?

Who Had the Worse Week?

  • The El Paso County Sheriff’s office violated the gentleman’s agreement that you don’t overtly politicize Santa Clause when it tweeted a photo of St. Nick applying for a concealed carry permit. The Second Amendment crowd has defended the tweet, but we’ll see how they feel when someone like NARAL tweets a photo of Santa taking his granddaughter to get an abortion. Speaking for most of us, keep Santa out of your culture wars.
  • Better.com CEO Vishal Garg learned the hard way what a backlash to stupidity feels like when he fired 900 employees over a mass Zoom call. In the three-minute video meeting, Garg told employees, “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off.” He later explained that the employees were “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive.
  • Singer Billie Eilish may have 97 million followers on Instagram, but her recent “can’t-miss” book has sold only 64,000 copies in seven months. At least Eilish was on the receiving end of the advance. The publisher, Grand Central Publishing, invested well over $1 million in the project.
  • Hundreds of protesters demonstrated against Boise State University professor Scott Yenor after he made misogynistic comments about women in the workplace at the recent National Conservatism Conference. In what I can only imagine was a cadence similar to that of Andrew “Dice” Clay, Yenor said, “Every effort made must be made not to recruit women into engineering, but rather to recruit and demand more of men who become engineers. Ditto for med school, and the law, and every trade.”
  • In what researcher’s say is a sign of the hidden toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, “American adults’ blood pressure rose markedly in 2020 compared with the year before.” The largest increases were found in women.
  • Pro tip: When you have just killed someone, even inadvertently, listen to your lawyers and try to keep a low profile. That’s the advice that actor Alec Baldwin ignored when he appeared in a disastrous interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. The public reaction to the interview was so bad that Baldwin deleted his Twitter account.
  • Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was convicted of staging a hate crime, and faces the very real possibility of serving jail time.
  • Peleton isn’t happy that Mr. Big died of a heart attack while riding the ubiquitous exercise bike in the reboot of “Sex and the City.” The company quickly responded blaming lifestyle factors – specifically “cocktails, cigars and big steaks” – for the fictional character’s death.

So, who won the week?

  • It finally snowed in Denver.
  • Woodland Park native Nichole “Vapor” Ayers was one of 10 people selected to become a NASA astronaut from a pool of more than 12,000. Ayers graduated from the Air Force Academy and currently flies F-22 Raptor fighter jets for the Air Force.
  • Tiger Woods will make his first return to competitive golf next week when he joins his 12-year-old son in the PNC Championship that allows pro golfers to team up with family members. Woods was in a brutal car accident in February that many thought would end his hopes of playing competitively.
  • Journalists across the country are cheering the news that Lee Enterprises – publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Buffalo News, among others – rejected an unsolicited offer from vulture capital firm Alden Global Capital. Among the journalists cheering loudest are those at The Denver Post, who have been subjected to Alden’s draconian ownership tactics.

Who Had the Worse Week?

  • RTD said it would partner with the TSA and the Guardian Angels to increase security around Union Station downtown after the union representing RTD workers complained of unsafe working conditions that included open drug use, vandalism and violence. 
  • Denver Police Officer Dewayne Rodgers has been fired after allegedly watching a gunshot victim bleed out rather than provide first aid.
  • CNN suspended anchor Chris Cuomo following reports that he was more engaged in protecting his brother, disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, than originally understood. The new allegations include that Chris used his position as a CNN journalist to seek intelligence about what other media outlets were planning to report about his brother.
  • An Austrian surgeon was fined $3,000 and paid $5,700 in damages after he amputated the wrong leg of a patient. Clearly, there is no Frank Azar equivalent in Austria.
  • The NFL suspended oft-troubled Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown for three games after it determined that he submitted a forged COVID-19 vaccination card to get around rules for unvaccinated players.
  • Actor Joshua Malina, most noted for his roles in “The West Wing,” “Sports Night” and “Scandal,” penned a column in Variety lambasting Warner Bros. for considering Mel Gibson as director of a fifth movie in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. Malina said that Gibson is “a well-known Jew-hater” who has a well-documented history of spewing wildly racist and anti-Jewish language.
  • Colorado State fired head coach Steve Addazio after he went 4-12 over the past two seasons. His termination means that CSU now owes former head coaches Addazio and Mike Bobo more than $6 million in remaining guaranteed money.

So who won the week?

WTA Shows Other Leagues What Leadership Looks like

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is doing what no government or other sports organization, including the NBA and the IOC, will do: Hold China accountable for its human rights abuses.

Following concerns about the safety of tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view after making allegations of sexual assault against a former high-ranking Chinese government official, the head of the WTA announced that all of its tournaments would be suspended in the country until it was clear Peng was safe.

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon.