Ad campaign to promote region's bid for Olympics

Washington-Baltimore seeks '12 Summer Games

April 26, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Unable to directly lobby Olympic committee members who will choose a U.S. city to vie for the 2012 Summer Games, Washington-Baltimore leaders said yesterday that they plan to put up some signs that the voters should see.

Local organizers unveiled an advertising campaign during the Greater Washington Board of Trade's Potomac Conference in front of 150 area business and civic leaders. The theme, "Heart of Our Nation ... Host to the World," targets Olympic and national sports officials, as well as local residents and leaders.

"We think it's an important step forward with only six months left," said Dan Knise, president and chief executive of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition. "We need to make sure we're selling our strengths, getting our message out there broadly and making it common knowledge that we're a good bid. ... There's no second place in this Olympic event."

Washington-Baltimore is competing against Houston, New York and San Francisco for the U.S. committee's nod to go against other nations to play host to the Summer Olympic Games. The U.S. city will be chosen in November, and the final host city will be selected by the International Olympic Committee in 2005.

All local organizers are prohibited by U.S. Olympic Committee rules from contacting selection committee members, and Knise emphasizes that they will not.

He said advertisements could be placed at light rail and subway stops, on the sides of buses and at area festivals from Northern Virginia to Baltimore. Organizers will run the ads in specialty publications and athletic programs seen locally and nationally. Details are being worked out.

HDN Studio, Burson-Marsteller and Issues & Image Advertising prepared the campaign. The advertising costs associated with the campaign are expected to be less than a fifth of the area coalition's $500,000 marketing budget, Knise said.

Knise said he had seen advertisements for Houston and was sure that the other cities would follow suit.

The theme is intended to invoke a national capital that is accustomed to playing host to major events.

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