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Protests killing Lenovo's Olympic buzz?

Its sponsorship of the Olympic games was supposed to be a coming-out party for the Chinese PC maker, but angry protests during the traditional torch run are catching the company off-guard.

Lenovo used a boatload of resources to win the contest to design the Olympic torch for this summer's Games, and what's the world's reaction? Derision and anger.

Of course, it has nothing to do with Lenovo or the torch design and everything to do with China's human rights record, its crackdown on protesters in Tibet, and its ongoing support of Sudan's government.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at how Lenovo's $100 million-plus marketing blitz as one of the official sponsors of the Games held in its own backyard could actually be a major blunder from a brand perspective.

Lenovo executives apparently expected some protests, but were "caught off guard" by the animosity the torch was met with during the traditional relay, particularly in London, Paris, and San Francisco. But Lenovo still has several months to go before the Games begin, and the company is adamant its association with the Games and with China won't hurt its aspirations of becoming a global PC brand name on the level of Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

See the Journal story for more.