N.Y. Unveils Olympics-Bid Campaign

NEW YORK The committee leading New York’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012 this week launches a campaign aimed at wooing International Olympic Committee voters and generating local excitement for the effort.

“We’ve got 8 million ambassadors to the world, and we need every one of those 8 million people to reach out,” said Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Daniel Doctoroff. Also in contention to be host the 2012 Olympic Games are London, Moscow, Paris and Madrid, Spain.

The NYC2012 campaign, tagged “Let the dreams begin,” includes eight TV commercials, two radio spots, outdoor and guerrilla advertising. The effort was unveiled at a press conference last night at the Time Warner Center in New York. Rick Boyko, managing director of the VCU AdCenter in Richmond, Va., described the creative brief as a way to point out parallels between the dreams of New Yorkers and Olympic dreams.

“People come to fulfill their dreams; they come to push themselves. When they arrive from wherever they have journeyed, they find they are part of a community: a community of dreamers,” Boyko said, adding that the destination described could apply to New York and the Olympic Games.

Three self-referential ads star Billy Crystal, decked out in his trademark New York Yankees cap, Regis Philbin and Jerry Seinfeld, all of whom see “signs” that the Olympics are destined to be held in New York.

Crystal sees page 157 of the phone book filled with references to the Olympics. These include diners and hair salons so named. While 22.41 meters is the women’s shot put record, it is also the circumference (in centimeters) of Philbin’s melon-like head, Crystal says. “Am I freakin’ you out here?” he asks. Print takes a similar tack, with one ad showing that the weight of an Olympic gold medal and a Carnegie Deli sandwich are both 1.25 lbs.

In a spot starring Seinfeld, the creative committee gives a nod to the requirements for host-city status. After being body-checked in pursuit of a taxi, Seinfeld notes, “Well, we’ve got competitive spirit.” Outside the UN, he says, “We already have everybody’s flag.”

Two other spots aim to milk Olympic inspiration by pairing scenes of Olympic footage with inspirational music and words. In one, a voiceover paraphrases the words of Emma Lazarus by saying, “Give me your tired, your swift, your brave. Send the strong, the driven, the unyielding to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The campaign is the first in a series that will run between now and July 2005, when the IOC will make its decision. This first flight will run locally, with a series of international ads slated to bow later this year. Media will be donated.

The ads were created by a 17-person “dream team” of ad executives who have worked on the effort pro bono since October. They are: Boyko; Lee Garfinkel, chief creative officer, Keith Reinhard, chairman, and John Russo, ecd, all at DDB; Brian Collins, creative director at Ogilvy & Mather Brand Integration Group; Robert Greenberg, founder of R/GA; John Hegarty, worldwide creative director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty; John Kamen, chairman and CEO of @radical.media; Tom McGovern, director of sports television at OMD; Matt Miller, president and CEO of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers; Michael Patti, chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam; David Sable, vice chairman and president of Wunderman Europe, Middle East/Africa; Stefan Sagmeister, founder of Sagmeister; Domenico Vitale, planning director, and Logan Wilmont, managing partner/co-creative director, both of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners; Seth Siegel, co-founder and chairman, licensing at Beanstalk; and Rick Arnstein, evp and general manager of GMR.