SALT LAKE CITY: The four US cities left in the race for the 2012
Olympics are quickly shifting from local to national PR campaigns.
New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Houston have one more year
to convince the US Olympic Committee (USOC) that they have the global
clout to win the 2012 Summer Games for the US, though the International
Olympic Committee won't make a final selection until 2005.
Bid campaigns have so far focused on building local support, which the
USOC measured through polls. Moving forward, messaging will address
national and international audiences as the cities tout facilities,
transportation infrastructure, and tourist attractions.
PR will play a key role since the USOC places strict limits on
advertising and bans contact with committee members, said Houston 2012
Foundation president Susan Bandy. Last week, Houston formalized a paid
relationship with Weber Shandwick Worldwide, which represented Beijing
and Sydney in their successful bids.
WSW SVP Mike Holtzman said his agency is working with several foreign
cities on their regional bids as well, but will pare down to one Olympic
client when international cities begin competing against each other.
New York is taking guidance from an unpaid board of PR and sports
marketing gurus. Rubenstein & Associates is on paid retainer.
Some have said that in light of September 11, other cities should bow
out and let New York make the bid. "We appreciate the outpouring of
support, but we're not looking for any sympathy," claimed marketing and
communications director Jon Stern. However, NYC2012's release announcing
it had made the cut stated, "An Olympic Games in New York would act as a
catalyst to, and ultimately as a capstone of New York City's
San Francisco expects to continue pro-bono work with Ketchum and DDB
Worldwide, and Washington with Burson-Marsteller. The Bay Area plans to
focus on the local community through a speakers bureau and an ad
campaign during the Salt Lake City Games this winter.