CAMPAIGNS: International PR - Integrity helps Turin win Games

Client: Turin 2006 Bid Committee

Client: Turin 2006 Bid Committee

PR Team: Shandwick International

Campaign: Turin’s candidature for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games

Timescale: July1998 - June 1999

Budget: undisclosed

Last June, the Turin 2006 Bid Committee appointed Shandwick Italy to

implement a campaign to support Turin’s candidature to host the 2006

Winter Olympic Games. In the face of competition from cities in Austria,

Finland, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland, Shandwick was charged with

creating a high-profile for the Italian challenge.


To demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the

media that Turin had the best facilities, infrastructure, entertainment

and experience for hosting such a prestigious sporting event. In the

aftermath of the IOC bribery scandals at the end of 1998, the PR team

also wanted to underline that the Turin committee was without


Strategy and Plan

To target the media ahead of other bidding cities, the PR team created a

mailing list of the major national and sporting publications across

Europe, the US, Canada, Korea and Japan. In conjunction with other

international offices - particularly the UK and Switzerland - Shandwick

Italy kept journalists constantly informed about Turin’s candidature and

any initiatives undertaken by the committee.

A major disadvantage was that Sion in Switzerland was perceived by many

as the strongest competitor. It had bid twice before and been viewed by

the IOC decision-makers before visits were banned following the IOC

corruption scandals. In response, a press kit was developed including

information and visuals on the city of Turin and its surroundings, with

biographies of the members leading the bid committee.

In addition, to reassure both the media and the IOC that there would be

no unscrupulous dealings in the Italian camp, Shandwick advised the

Turin team to create an internal ethical code.

In January, the IOC Evaluation Committee produced a report on the bids

that clearly favoured Sion. As a result, Shandwick started a major media

campaign and organised a programme of activities for opinion-formers at

events such as World Cup skiing meets and the Figure Skating World

Championship in Helsinki.

Measurement and Evaluation

Over 500 articles appeared in various international publications

expressing a positive slant towards the Turin 2006 bid. In addition, a

trip to the US by Marco San Pietro, head of international relations for

the Turin committee, was covered by all major US and international TV

networks including NBC, ABC, the BBC, as well as leading US newspapers

including the New York Times.


In June, an IOC Select Committee shortlisted Sion and Turin as the


The 105 IOC members then voted for the winner and announced that Turin

was to host the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, a victory for a

well-implemented media and lobbying campaign.

Both the media and the IOC looked favourably on the Turin bid

committee’s decision to protect the integrity of its internal procedures

and IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch commended the Turin team for

not having ’made a single mistake’ in its candidature.

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