World-class athletes aren’t the only ones vying for selection in the Olympic Games. Cities around the world start the bid process a full nine years before the Games, and it takes another two for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to select the winner.
The actual work that goes into putting a bid together often begins well before then, and it’s a heck of a project. Not only does it require communication and cooperation among city, regional, and national authorities, but it also calls for teams of creative minds to spin up some killer marketing campaigns.
How do you market your city and your country to win the honor of hosting the Olympic Games? They’re not just appealing to the IOC, although those are the folks who ultimately get the vote — they’re also appealing to a variety of people across the globe. “In the end, the winning city needs a movement. And this movement needs to be perfectly crafted to appeal to the decision-makers on so many levels,” Scott Goodson, who led branding and marketing for the Stockholm 2004 Olympic bid, told Forbes.
The marketing campaigns that accompany formal bid applications have usually included videos, especially in the last decade or two. These videos are usually two- to six-minute videos advertising the city’s beauty, its people, its culture, and why it’s a great fit for hosting the Olympics. In Goodson’s words, videos “insert a memory aid into the minds of those who will cast a vote for your city.”
We’ve chosen a few of the most famous Olympic bid videos from around the world — check out how each city chose to market itself to their own citizens, the Committee, and the world.
9 Famous Olympics Bid Videos From Around the World
Boston, MA, USA: 2024 Summer Olympic Bid Video
In Boston’s bid video for 2024, shots of Boston scenery accompany a monologue on the heartbeat of Boston: the resilient people, the legacy of education and forward progress, the walkability of the city and well-organized transportation system, the energy efficiency, and the “power of sports to unite us.” (And we’re not biased, or anything — promise.)
Melbourne, Australia: 2024 Summer Olympics Bid Video
Dramatic landscapes, dramatic moments in Australian sports history, and dramatic music define Melbourne’s 2024 bid video.
Washington, DC, USA: 2024 Summer Olympics Bid Video
Washington’s pitch features a number of DC folks — from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to Washington Wizards star John Wall to someone who could be your next door neighbor — reciting a monologue about what the city is about and why they’re equipped to host the Games. The Washington Post calls it a swing and a miss, but we’re curious to see what you think.
Beijing, China: 2022 Winter Olympic Bid Video
It’s clear this isn’t China’s first rodeo: Their 2022 bid video includes footage from the 2008 Summer Olympics they hosted, which was an impressive (and expensive) feat. They call the 2022 Olympics a “Joyful Rendezvous Upon Pure Ice and Snow.” Their video includes some beautiful animations, including animated maps showing where in China each sport would compete as well as 3D depictions of the proposed stadiums.
Istanbul, Turkey: 2020 Summer Olympic Bid Video
Titled “Diamonds To The Bridge,” Istanbul’s 2020 bid video features colorful, high-definition shots of the city’s beautiful scenery and culture, all set to Rihanna’s hit single “Diamonds.”
New York, NY, USA: 2012 Summer Olympic Bid Video
In New York’s bid video, runners holding an Olympic torch and wearing “NYC 2012” t-shirts make their way across the city and slowly build a following along the way.
Sydney, Australia: 2000 Summer Olympic Bid Video
“I love a sunburnt country; a land of sweeping plains.” Sydney set their 2000 bid video to a reading of the beautiful poem “My Country“ by Australian poet Dorothea Mackeller.
Rio, Brazil: 2016 Summer Olympic Bid Video
Rio’s bid video seamlessly combines sounds from its streets and beaches with high definition shots of Brazil’s people to paint a beautiful, dynamic cultural picture.
Stockholm, Sweden: 2004 Summer Olympic Bid Video
Stockholm took a unique approach to their bid video. It depicts the journey of a small figurine of a man in a boat as it floats along the Swedish coast and encounters several different characters, including young boys, fishermen, and even a dog. (Warning: A small part of this video could be NSFW.)