Jun 29, 2009 at 06:06 AM
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Akon/Chivas' Sponsorship Sidelines "Freedom" Tour

Just four days before Akon's July 2nd concert date in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian government cracked down on the Freedom Tour stop over concerns about the stop's primary sponsor, Chivas.

"We expect every show promoter in this country to abide by our rules and regulations,” said Mohammad Daud. “We have not relaxed our restrictions on cigarette and liquor sponsorship for public events like concerts.”

The concert has now been rescheduled for October 24th because of an "urgent family matter," which coincidentally allowed them to find a new sponsor. “With the new date, we’ve managed to find a new sponsor,” according to the concert's promoter.

It likely didn't help matters that Akon's set list routinely includes songs like "Smack That" and the stop was promoted as a beach party in the Islamic country of Malaysia.

Brand marketers are used to adopting advertising to cultural, societal and legal norms, and as tours become increasingly global, sponsorship sellers/promoters must adopt a similar level of scrutiny for partner involvement. While many sponsorship sellers are relaxing their category standards in light of the recent recession, that doesn't mean other key constituencies such as venues and governments are on the same page with them.