PARIS—The organization behind the Paris bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games has retained Weber Shandwick to develop and implement its international public relations strategy. Weber Shandwick worked with Beijing to win the 2008 Games and has experience with two other winning bids: Turin 2006 and Sydney 2000.
The agency has been chosen following a competitive European Union tendering process initiated by Paris 2012 in December 2003, involving seven international agencies. The global public relations campaign will fully adhere to and respect the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bidding rules on the use of international public relations.
The appointment of Weber Shandwick marks the first time that the city of Paris has hired an international communications agency to support its bid. The appointment follows the direction given in May 2003 by Bertrand Delanoë, Mayor of Paris and president of the Paris Candidacy Committee, to present “an excellent technical dossier,” communicate Paris’s strong desire to host a truly international event, and mobilize the support of French athletes and the people of Paris and Ile-de-France.
Weber Shandwick will work closely with an in-house team, led by Armand de Rendinger and with Publicis, which was hired late last year to handle national communications. To strengthen its internal team, meanwhile, Paris 2012 has also invited Jon Tibbs, who led the global public relations campaigns for Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004, to join as its international adviser.
According to Philippe Baudillon, director general of Paris 2012, “We are taking a new approach to our communications for Paris 2012, one that has evolved from an analysis of previous bids. To raise our profile, we have hired Weber Shandwick, as it is one of the strongest international public relations agencies and has a proven track record in bidding and the Olympic world.”
Meanwhile London, believed to be the strongest competitor to Paris in the bidding process, is expected to retain Hill & Knowlton to assist with its efforts. Other cities expected to bid include Madrid, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Leipzig, Istanbul and Havana. The winner is likely to be announced next July.