Weber Shandwick has added Beijing 2022 to its list of Olympic PR achievements after previously supporting successful bids for Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, Sochi 2014 and Tokyo 2020.
As the international communications agency of record, Weber Shandwick helped devise and implement a communications strategy focused around the bid’s three core concepts – hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games that was athlete-centered, sustainable and economical.
Beijing was awarded the Games at 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur at the end of last month.
Svetlana Picou, executive vice president and Chair Global Olympic told PRWeek Asia: "The wider vision of the bid was to host a Games that would offer a tremendous potential to grow winter sports in China, across Asia and around the world. All communications were built from this foundation and centered on telling the bid’s story to the voters – IOC members – and key influencers."
She said the firm had over 20 years experience in Olympic bidding and in this case worked across campaign planning, international media relations, and digital planning and implementation.
"As well as our Beijing team of experts with their extensive experience of delivering international campaigns in China, Weber Shandwick called upon its Global Olympic Practice - a team with a deep understanding of the complexities and nuances of successful Olympic campaigning," she added.
Despite being the favourites for the bid, the campaign had to come over several challenges, most notably opposition from human rights groups and oenironmental NGOs - not least because Beijing will have little natural snow.
"As with every Olympic bid campaign, Beijing 2022 and its stakeholders addressed questions from NGOs during the bid campaign. Importantly and in line with previous Games hosts, Beijing 2022 is set to work closely with the IOC to ensure a beneficial dialogue with NGOs around any matters raised in relation to the Games," she added.
Beijing also only recently held the Summer Games in 2008. However, Picou said this was a help, not a hindrance.
"Beijing’s experience hosting the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games was a core advantage of the city’s bid for 2022 and an important factor to communicate through the campaign. Overall, it proved China could guarantee hosting an unforgettable and successful Games season.
"The legacy of the 2008 Games supported a sustainable and economical plan for 2022, with 11 of 12 competition and non-competition venues for Beijing 2022 already in place from the Summer Olympic Games. In addition to established venues, having skilled and experienced people within China who have already successfully delivered the Games certainly demonstrated that China could deliver a great event," she added.
The organisers of Beijing 2022 will now move from a Bid Committee to and Organising Committee, meaning Weber Shandwick’s work at this stage comes to an end. In most cases, an RFP is then launched for a PR agency of record for the Organising Committee.
Picou added: "Weber Shandwick is extremely proud to have been a partner of the Beijing 2022 bid and it has been an incredible experience for our team. The important and immediate next stage will require Beijing 2022 to move from a Bid Committee to establishing an Organising Committee, which will be the body responsible for delivering the Games."