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Olympic Bidders Battle With Ads

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The battle be tween San Francisco and New York for the right to be the U.S. bidder for the 2012 Summer Olym pics has spawned a bicoastal advertising contest.

San Francisco rolls out an outdoor campaign this week from DDB, San Francisco, that shows Northern California locations like vineyards and crooked streets transformed into Olympic spots. The work follows a campaign launched in July by New York's Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners that is tagged, "We've been training for this forever." It shows wrestlers grappling over taxicabs and sprinters darting across busy streets.

"I love both cities dearly. But, in my opinion, the Olympics should be in New York," said Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman and chief creative officer at KB&P, which also has a San Francisco office. "I think it would demonstrate to the rest of the world that New Yorkers have the ability to triumph [over adversity]."

NYC2012, the group in charge of New York's bid, is now working on a short film centered around the Olym pic torch. Organizers were to begin a three-day shoot yesterday, filming 3,000 people replicating the torch relay around the city. The film will be presented to the U.S. Olympic Committee on Nov. 2., shortly before the final decision is due.

While New York may be the sentimental favorite, supporters of the San Francisco bid are pressing ahead on behalf of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee. Spending is estimated at $1 million, but media is also being donated by Northern California companies.

"What we needed to do is identify what in San Francisco is unique and different than New York," said Sarah Moore, managing director at DDB. "We tried to differentiate what San Fran cisco's brand is, like the city was a product. It just happens that we're selling a city instead of bleach."

One ad shows a kayaker navigating a river that's flowing down San Francisco's Lombard Street, which is known as "the world's most crooked street." Another shows synchronized swimmers in the fountain at the San Jose Performing Arts Center.

The tag is: "San Francisco 2012. The bridge to the future." Ads will run throughout Northern California, mostly on buses and billboards.

The U.S. winner will compete against foreign cities. The host city will be named in late 2005.