Dream Ad Team Set To Play for NYC2012

14-person council helping New York battle the world for Olympic Games

Taking a page from the playbook of political campaigns, NYC2012, the group formed to bring the Summer Olympics to New York in 2012, has drafted a dream team of ad executives to help the city triumph over the eight other international bidders, including Moscow, Madrid, Paris and London.

The team will create a multimedia marketing campaign that will run in New York, nationally and, eventually, abroad. The goal is twofold: to drum up the financial support and Olympic spirit among New York organizations and residents that will be crucial to successfully staging the Games; and to sell the city as a global center to the International Olympic Committee, which will choose the host on July 6, 2005.

The first ads from the 14-person creative council are expected to break in New York in the first quarter of 2004. Efforts will continue until the host is named. In its winning bid to be the U.S. contender, NYC2012 emphasized the diversity, competitive spirit and vast resources of New York, which it deemed “the world’s most international city.” To support that claim, NYC2012 notes that 40 percent of New York City residents are foreign born.

Amy Stanton is leading the ad charge as director of marketing and communications at NYC2012. She asked Rick Boyko, former Ogilvy & Mather creative chief and now managing director of the VCU Adcenter in Richmond, Va., to head the council. The group also includes Keith Reinhard and Lee Garfinkel of DDB, Michael Patti of Young & Rubicam, Kevin McKeon of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, David Droga of Publicis, Logan Wilmont of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, David Sable of Wunderman, Bob Greenberg of R/GA and Jon Kamen of @radical.media. NYC2012 was the brainchild of Dan Doctoroff, a former investment banker and now the city’s deputy mayor for economic development.

“We’ve put together a pretty eclectic group,” said Boyko, who worked on marketing films last year for NYC2012’s bid to have New York be the sole U.S. contender. “I was honored [to be asked], and it’s a great project.”

KB&P, creator of last year’s campaign that helped New York edge San Francisco to be the U.S. bidder, is developing an umbrella strategy and will handle account management duties with NYC2012. The council will develop campaigns based on strategic ideas from KB&P. It held its first full meeting last month. Next up is a strategy session on Oct. 17.

The council is reminiscent of the Madison Avenue teams assembled to help presidential candidates, such as Ronald Reagan’s famous Tuesday Team. The client considered hiring a single shop, but given the scope of the project (TV, guerrilla, viral marketing, etc.), the committee approach “seemed like the best way to get tons of great ideas,” Stanton said.

“It’s such a fundamentally big, important thing to be working on,” said McKeon. “It’s really quite an amazing plan and will leave a really great legacy.”

No one on the council is getting paid. Media buying and planning—to be handled by Omnicom Group’s OMD—is also being done pro bono. NYC2012, whose board includes executives from a large number of media companies, will ask for donated space and airtime.

Spending plans were not disclosed. Atlanta spent about $7 million to market itself as the host of the 1996 Summer Games.

NYC2012 is looking to win over the IOC’s 126 voting members in 80 countries. Decisions on when and where to run ads abroad have not yet been made, partly because advertising internationally is prohibited until closer to the decision date—a rule designed to limit the lobbying of committee members following the IOC bribery scandal surrounding Salt Lake City’s bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

NYC2012’s challenge is a significant one. It must overcome anti-Americanism stemming in part from the Iraq war as well as skepticism about New York’s infrastructure—a concern among city residents as much as the IOC. “It’s as much about continuing to build support in the city as it is showing outwardly that New York is thrilled about this,” Stanton says.

Rounding out the list of bidders are Havana, Cuba; Istanbul, Turkey; Leipzig, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.