TORONTO: In a move sure to generate public outcry over conflicts of
interest, Toronto’s 2008 Olympic bid committee has awarded its pounds
1.3 million PR account to Hill and Knowlton.
When the committee invited H&K to bid in February, many journalists and
PR professionals objected - H&K also represents the International
Olympic Committee (IOC), which will select the 2008 venue in September
But H&K has been chosen over Edelman PR Worldwide, GPC Canada, Grey
Advertising-owned GCI Group and APCO Associates, who pitched jointly for
H&K found out it had won the Toronto work last week and is due to meet
the bid team this week to discuss the agency’s brief. While H&K has an
open-ended contract with the International Olympic Committee, Toronto’s
bid co-ordinator Jeff Evensen said the contract permits the agency to
work for a city bidding for the event and that the IOC had no
reservations about H&K’s participation.
Carole Kerbel, manager of H&K’s Toronto office, confirmed the win. But
she added that its role has yet to be fleshed out.
’Obviously we’re excited and flattered, but we haven’t sat down to
discuss what they want us to do,’ Kerbel said.
H&K informed the IOC from the outset that it intended to pitch for the
Toronto business. The IOC agreed to the idea, with the qualification
that separate account teams be used. H&K works for the IOC on a project
by project basis which includes corporate and crisis PR.