SOCHI, RUSSIA: Sochi 2014, the Russian bid to host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, has hired Weber Shandwick and IMG to support the bid, only a little more than four months after initially selecting Burson-Marsteller and Helios Partners to handle those duties.
IMG Consulting is considered the lead agency, focusing on marketing and technical aspects of the bidding process. WS will provide PR and communications support. Terrence Burns, president and CEO of Helios Partners, will continue to assist the bid process in some fashion.
The Sochi bid committee recently switched leadership. Dmitry Chernyshenko, SVP of Russian advertising firm Media Arts Group, has assumed the role of Sochi 2014 CEO. Andrey Braginski, newly-appointed marketing communications director for the bid committee, said that while Burson did an excellent job, the new leadership went in a new direction.
"Sochi 2014 is a truly international bid and we understand the value of having one of the leading international PR agencies with Olympic bidding expertise on board to share our compelling story with the Olympic family," Braginski said via e-mail. "From that perspective, we are delighted to be working with Weber Shandwick."
Burson, which announced the win on August 30, assisted Sochi 2014 with its questionnaire submission to the IOC, one of the various steps to contend for an Olympic selection.
Jennifer Norton, Burson director of global communications released this statement to PRWeek: "The Sochi bid has new management and has chosen a different agency. The bid committee has thanked us for our work and we wish Sochi 2014 the best of luck. "
Sochi, a resort by the Black Sea in the south of Russia, launched its bid in July 2005 with the full backing of the Russian government, National Olympic Committee, and the Mayor of Sochi. No Russian city has ever held a winter Olympics.