Dear Member of the International Olympic Committee:
Crain's Chicago Business is our premier weekly business publication. This report ran today on their web site.
They report what we at No Games Chicago have known for some time - namely, that public support for the 2016 bid has dissolved and the 2106 Committee is getting desperate to try to shore up its failing status. They go from one bad idea to another, as this report documents.
Chicago 2016 launches last-ditch ad push
Jeremy Mullman - Sept. 15,
(Crain's) - Chicago's bid to host the 2016
Summer Olympics has had no shortage of marketing firepower at its disposal:
Nearly all of the major creative agencies in the nation's No. 2 agency market
-including Leo Burnett, Ogilvy & Mather, Downtown Partners and others -
have pitched in to help craft ads and presentations in support of the bid.
But for all the creative firepower aimed
primarily at persuading the judges of the International Olympic Committee, the
bid hasn't spent as much time or energy persuading Chicagoans that winning the
games is a worthwhile goal, and that may wind up undermining its efforts.
A Chicago Tribune poll earlier this month found that only 47% of Chicagoans supported the city's bid to host the games, a
potentially devastating blow so close to the Oct. 2 decision deadline.
People close to the situation said organizers
have leaned on mostly favorable coverage in local newspapers and TV shows to
make their case but were caught off-guard by that news, which will almost
certainly be wielded by rival cities such as Rio de Janeiro,
Tokyo and Madrid
in their own bids to host the games. "I think they were shocked,"
said one person close to the bid. "And now they know it's going to be used
So, in a last-ditch effort to generate local
enthusiasm, organizers last week began broadcasting audio messages supporting the bid on city buses. If Twitter is any indication (search for "CTA"
and "2016") the appeals from former Olympians are doing more harm
than good, as sentiment toward the "propaganda" is overwhelmingly
"It doesn't demonstrate public support
and in fact will only erode whatever support exists," wrote Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman, in a piece that
mirrored the sentiment of many posts. "No one likes being aurally
assaulted while part of a captive audience."
The bid also last week launched a series of
print and radio ads intended to tout the potential positive economic impact
that hosting the games could have for Chicago
and the surrounding region.
But in the weeks and months before the recent
spate of messages, the local dialogue concerning the impact of the games has
largely centered around who pays for it, and a controversial provision that
could leave city taxpayers on the hook for certain cost overruns. Those sorts
of concerns tend to be particularly potent in a city where citizens have become
accustomed to daily headlines about corruption probes in city and state
There are also persistent worries about the
traffic and congestion that will surround construction for the games, and over
whether the city's public-transit system could handle the increased traffic
that would come with the Olympics.
Chicago 2016 Chief Brand Officer Mark
Mitten last week referred an inquiry to a spokesman, who did not return a phone
call. A subsequent call to the Chicago 2016 media line was not returned.