Client: Turin 2006 Bid Committee
PR Team: Shandwick International
Campaign: Turin’s candidature for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games
Timescale: July1998 - June 1999
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.