Zippo may have started a fire in more ways than one.
The lighter company with the trademarked lifetime guarantee, “It works or we fix it free,” appeared to come to the rescue of the unofficial start of the Olympic torch relay when the flame blew out Sunday.
An officer at the Kremlin relit the flame with a lighter (video here).
From the video, it was inconclusive which brand the lighter was, but the Bradford, Pa., company took credit on Facebook.
However, Zippo may have breached a law, according to R-Sport.
An official manning the route rekindled the flame with what appeared to be a Zippo cigarette lighter, breaching rules that state only Olympic lanterns brought from Greece may provide backup.
The Pennsylvania-based Zippo company took full advantage Tuesday, however, posting a screen grab of the moment on itsFacebook page Tuesday with the hashtag #ZippoSavesOlympics. The post has gone viral in next year’s host nation with more than 2,400 “likes.”
But the move could be in breach of Russian law banning Olympic symbols from being used in advertising without official approval.
The Sochi 2014 organizing committee is aware of the ad and “is working on this,” its head Dmitry Chernyshenko said on Twitter.
UPDATE: Russian officials contacted Zippo, and the company took the photo and hashtag off its Facebook page. However, it updated its status with this:
“It was a little bit of whimsy on our part,” David Warfel, Zippo’s global marketing director told RIA Novosti. “We never intended it to be a promotion or marketing event.”
Russian officials “are concerned, and I understand that they don’t want anybody to believe or want us to in any way imply that we do have some kind of business relationship with them, which we don’t,” Warfel said.
Chernyshenko’s tweet came from his Russian account (he also has an English account).
The Olympic flame has since been extinguished a second, third and fourth time in the last two days.
Sochi Olympic torch relay: by the numbers