In case you were unaware, the competition for the 2016 Olympics host city’s been won and the waiting is over.
It was a controversial ride, but in the end, Chicago got knocked out immediately and Rio de Janiero was bestowed the honor, marking the first time a South American country’s been chosen to host an Olympic Games. The news is bittersweet in Chicago; the city was split 54% For, 46% Against according to recent polls. The city’s debt, added traffic on over-burdened streets, and additional taxes were main contention points that kept Chicagoans from supporting the bid. Plus the knowledge that recent host’s were still paying off Olympic-sized debt.
Skepticism rose to National levels last week when President Barack Obama, and wife Michelle, agreed to attend the final stage of the Olympic pitch in Oslow, adding their political weight to a field filled with political, and royal, notables: A King and Queen (Madrid), Prime Minister (Tokyo), and another President (Rio).
Competition between Rio and Chicago was especially fierce, and accusations of unfair play were voiced by both sides: One of the larger controversies a website Chicagoans for Rio 2016. The Chicago Olympic Bid team accused Rio of setting up the site (makes sense), but it turned out that it was an inside job…really inside.
Meanwhile, a Chicagoan named Kevin Lynch is confessing that he’s the man behind the cheeky ChicagoansForRio.com, the Web site that’s been anonymously trashing Chicago’s prospects in the past couple of weeks.
Okay, so he was from Chicago. No biggie. The real impact of the story is that Kevin Lynch is one of the top creative execs at Energy BBDO’s Proximity Unit. Energy BBDO, and owner Omnicom, were both in support of Chicago’s bid for the games, providing creative services as part of their endorsement. Plus, there’s the fact that Energy BBDO’s largest client, Wrigley (Wrigley Field, Wrigley Gum, etc), supported the city’s bid.
Which led to “Drama, drama, drama”! Energy BBDO released a statement to Ad Age last week:
“I want to be clear: The agency is and has been fully behind the Chicago 2016 bid,” said Energy BBDO CEO Tonise Paul. “Our clients are aware of our position and understand the situation. The individual acted on his own accord without the agency’s knowledge.”
Kevin Lynch, the “instigator” of the controversy, said he had stopped supporting the Olympic bid for Chicago when Mayor Daley’s statements that Chicagoans wouldn’t be taxed for the games were reversed. (Chicago already carries the heaviest sales tax in the Nation at 10.25%.)
Now that the host city’s been decided, it will be at least a week to discover what becomes of Mr. Lynch…
Jeff Louis: Strategic Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or contact him on Twitter. As always, thanks for reading!