Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Recently in Chicago 2016 Category

There was always a troubling sense -- during the long lead-up to the devastating International Olympic Committee vote last Friday -- that the Chicago 2016 Committee was trying to eke out a victory in the competition as cheaply as possible. Little money was spent on campaigns to win over Chicago's local populace to the idea of hosting the Olympics until it was too late to do much good, and even those last-ditch efforts seemed low-budget and unconvincing.

But as lacking in lavishness and compelling thematics as most of Chicago 2016's efforts were in selling Chicagoans and the IOC on Chicago as a host Olympic city, the 2016 Committee, sources say, did manage to open very wide their pockets for that last disappointing video that was a central part of last Friday's final pitch to the IOC. One source pegged the cost of the underwhelming, heavily-tweaked video at well in excess of a cool $1 million -- an astounding sum given how little the video helped further Chicago's bid.

The decision to feature in the video the youth of Chicago and their "together we can" mantra may have seemed a clever touch to some within the Chicago 2016 crowd. But the fact is the youth angle already had been overused in the Chicago pitch. Yes, young people are at the center of the Olympics, but that's no reason to focus on them to the point of obsession.

In any event, it's too late to do anything about the lackluster video or the money spent on it. But if there's ever to be another Olympic pitch from Chicago, we hope whoever is calling the shots next time will remember it's important to think big. The Olympics demand nothing less.

The secret is out. Longtime Chicago advertising creative Kevin Lynch is the brain behind ChicagoansForRio.com, the Chicago Olympic bid naysayer Web site that has been the subject of numerous media reports in recent days.

Since June, Lynch has been the top creative at Proximity, the digital advertising arm of Energy BBDO/Chicago, whose clients include Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co and the Illinois Lottery. Prior to joining Proximity, Lynch was for many years a top creative at Hadrian's Wall/Chicago, which was bought out by a Toronto ad agency and rebranded as Zig/Chicago.

Crain's Chicago Business reported Lynch was behind the site after a technical expert traced the Chicagoans for Rio Web registration to Lynch, who also has his own blog at blog.15-ideas.com.

Today Lynch posted on the blog a Q & A with himself explaining his reasons for creating the anti-Chicago bid site. He offers numerous reasons he thinks the International Olympic Committee should vote for Rio de Janeiro over Chicago. Lynch said he never expected his connection to the Chicagoans for Rio Web site to remain a secret. He said he's been wearing a Chicagoans for Rio T-shirt for several months.

Call it dicey scheduling. But the Executives' Club of Chicago apparently believes it will have something to celebrate on Oct. 6, because it has invited Pat Ryan, chairman and CEO of the Chicago 2016 Olympic organizing committee, to be guest speaker at a Joint Committee breakfast on that day.

Ryan's topic, per the invitation, will be "Chicago's Bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games." Ryan's speech at the Sheraton Chicago will come just four days after the International Olympic Committee selects the 2016 Summer Olympics host city in Copenhagen on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Depending on how that vote goes, of course, Ryan could be talking to the Executives' Club about what went wrong. Or he could be discussing a successful bid strategy. Either way, it should prove an interesting breakfast presentation.

olympics[1].jpgWith Chicago aldermen set to vote Wednesday on whether Mayor Richard M. Daley can sign a standard host-city agreement with the International Olympic Committee, the Chicago 2016 organizing committee is engaged in a last-minute, last-ditch effort to pump up enthusiasm for the Chicago bid among local government officials and the populace via a print and radio ad campaign. If Daley signs the host city contract, Chicago would be obligated to cover the costs of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, as well as any operating losses.

Two different, copy-heavy full page ads appeared in both Chicago dailies Tuesday, while radio spots featuring the mayors of Atlanta and Los Angeles, also were running to boost support for the city's Olympic bid. One of the print ads was an open letter from Martin Luther King III in which he explains why hosting the Olympics would be good for Chicago. King was involved with the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

A second print ad offered more factual details about how the Olympics would benefit Chicago and Illinois, including $22 billion in economic impact and a number of new sports facilities that would remain after the Games.

A Chicago 2016 spokesman said the print ads, developed in-house, would appear only once, though the radio spots would continue to run.

The push to rally public backing for Chicago's Olympic bid comes amid growing evidence that Chicagoans' support has waned in recent months, and that Rio de Janeiro's bid could be gaining favor with International Olympic Committee, who will select the 2016 host city on Oct. 2, in Copenhagen. In addition to Rio, Chicago is competing with Madrid and Tokyo for the 2016 Games.

PX00049_7.JPGMark Mitten, chief brand officer for the Chicago 2016 organizing committee, will deliver a luncheon address on Saturday, April 25, during Depaul University's Marketing 2009 Symposium. Titled "An Era of Opportunity: Engaging the Consumer," the symposium takes place at the DePaul Center, I E. Jackson Blvd., in Chicago. Mitten will talk about marketing Chicago -- its brand, image and key messages -- to the world in support of the city's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics

Since the city's Olympic bid committee was formed in 2006, Mitten has managed marketing and brand strategy for that bid, including production of the committee's official bid videos shown to the International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission during their recent visit to Chicago. Mitten previously worked as a producer for Mark Burnett Productions on NBC's hit television show "The Apprentice." Mitten is also a former principal in the Chicago office of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Mitten now is involved in preparing marketing materials for the Chicago 2016 bid committee's final presentations to the International Olympic Committee, who will chose the 2016 host city in October. Besides Chicago, the candidate cities are Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Tokyo.

PX00049_7.JPGWe could almost hear the collective sigh of relief and renewed hope coming from inside the Chicago 2016 offices when Barack Obama was elected the nation's 44th President last November. Almost immediately, the powers-that-be within the local Olympic bid organization trying to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago seemed to fixate ever more intently on Obama as the man who could get sports' biggest event to the Windy City.

And from what we've heard about the goings-on inside Chicago 2016 since Obama's election and subsequent inauguration, the President continues to be viewed as the most potent weapon in the city's Olympic bid arsenal. That was underscored in an e-mail we received this week from the Chicago 2016 press office that was comprised of Chicago 2016 Chairman and CEO Pat Ryan's rather fawning "reflections" on Obama and his inauguration, which Ryan and his family traveled to Washington, D.C. to witness. Among the things noted in Ryan's remarks was the generous face time he and his family got with Obama while in Washington. "You could see his (Obama's) ability to directly communicate one-on-one," said Ryan, adding "I got a strong sense that he is going to continue to relate really well to the American people as President."

On the matter of what the Obama presidency means to Chicago 2016, Ryan said Obama "sees himself as a unifier, and in that sense, the President's agenda and Chicago 2016's message are completely aligned." Ryan went on to note that Obama is "an athlete, so for him sport is personal, as it is for all of us at the bid."

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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