Brands in the News

Chicago’s Olympic Marketing Miss

2 Oct , 2009  

There will be a lot of second guessing here in Chicago now that the city’s Olympic bid has failed.  People will probably point to a weak final presentation, an over-reliance on celebrities and the geographic composition of the IOC.  These are all fair points.

One issue that certainly played a role was the lack of support for the bid in Chicago.  Recent polls indicated that almost 50% of people living in Chicago were against the bid.  This is a major issue; it is hard to invest in a major public venture when people don’t support it.

The Chicago bid team clearly failed to effectively market the Olympics in Chicago.  Why would Chicago want to host the games?  How would it benefit the people in city? 

My observation is that the team might have focused a bit too much on the good and greats of the world and not enough on the people in Chicago.

There are many of reasons why a city would want to host the Olympics; the economic benefits are considerable and it is a wonderful civic event, a source of pride and great fun.

That message never reached many people in Chicago.  They heard about the costs and were skeptical of the promises made by the politicians, but they never really understood the benefits.

This is unfortunate and a missed opportunity.


No Responses

  1. Liz Neely says:

    I agree with the point made in the post. I also wonder if the committee’s perception of the Chicago brand compared to that of America played a part in the decision. Possibly Chicago, home to the Obamas and other international favorites like pizza and Al Capone, would have benefited from distancing itself as an American city–considering the lingering international feelings and disagreements with our foreign policy actions. When Michele gave her presentation, it was very focused on Chicago itself. The president’s presentation veered much more towards Chicago as an American city–the heartland of America. This may have weakened Chicago in the international setting. Just a thought.

    Then again, it’s pretty embarrassing that South American has never been granted an Olympics, so Chicago may have been handicapped from the start.

  2. […] Chicago’s Olympic Marketing Miss « Building Strong Brands strongbrands.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/chicagos-olympic-marketing-miss – view page – cached There will be a lot of second guessing here in Chicago now that the city’s Olympic bid has failed. People will probably point to a weak final presentation, an over-reliance on celebrities and… (Read more)There will be a lot of second guessing here in Chicago now that the city’s Olympic bid has failed. People will probably point to a weak final presentation, an over-reliance on celebrities and the geographic composition of the IOC. These are all fair points. (Read less) — From the page […]

  3. pll says:

    It’s also an opportunity seized by Rio. It would be interesting to compare the marketing campaign in some of the dimensions you mention — Rio clearly made a strong emotional appeal: “Light the caldron in a tropical country, in the most beautiful of cities. Send a powerful message to the world that the Olympic Games belong to all people, all continents, and to all humanity” (Lula’s address to the IOC)

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