Jan 08, 2010 at 05:31 PM
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VANOC: Blackberry Be Gone

It's not easy being a smartphone sponsor these days. Last year, Blackberry got its share of U2-lash for its multimillion dollar sponsorship of the rock icon. Now it appears that Samsung, with its many multi-million dollar TOP sponsorship, is having trouble tearing some VANOC officials away from their Blackberry devices.

Samsung has reportedly offered Vancouver Olympic organizers two smartphone options: the Omnia and the Vice. Samsung will ship approximately 9,200 Omnia and Vice devices for VANOC and IOC officials to use during the Games next month under a value-in-kind agreement.

Marketingmag.ca reports that some staffers are less than pleased at the free offering saying "the move has been met with a thumbs down by some staffers at the organizing committee, VANOC, because they're frustrated with the touch-screen devices and say key functions like sending and reading e-mail are nearly impossible."

Meanwhile, Ron Judd of the Seattle Times writes:

Some staffers have been told they can secretly keep their BlackBerries. Those Chosen Few, no doubt, will be the ones skulking around in dark corners, sneaking a BlackBerry hit on a device with electrical tape over its brand name -- and, no doubt, slurping a PEPSI and scarfing on a WHOPPER JUNIOR at the same time (the official Olympic brands being Coke and McDonald's.)

On the record, however, VANOC is saying that the VIK will be fully utilized.

"The value in kind we get is fully useful, meets our needs and fully offsets the budget we would otherwise have to spend," said Dave Cobb, deputy executive director of the organizing committee.