Bringing the Olympic Games Back Home: Athens Organizing Committee


Situation

The Olympics were born in ancient Greece, and the modern Olympic movement was reborn in Athens in 1896.  But when Athens sought to host the summer Games again for the 1996 centennial, it found itself blocked. The international community doubted the city’s capacity to fund, organize, and host the kind of mega-event that today’s Olympic spectacles have become. Even after Athens won the bid to host the 2004 Games, it found the International Olympic Committee, global journalists, and even its own public full of doubts - and even ready to give the Games to another city unless the Athens organizers could show results.

Solution

Starting in 1999, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, in conjunction with the communications consultancy TSD, embarked on a broad program of strategic research for Mrs. Gianna Angelopolous-Daskalaki, who became the president of the Athens Organizing Committee. GQR conducted focus groups and surveys across Greece to help determine the messages that would most motivate the Greek public and Athens residents. During the 2000 Games in Sydney, a set of in-depth interviews with the press corps covering the Olympic movement also helped identify the preconceptions and doubts that the media would bring to coverage of Greece’s preparations over the next four years. The research found a broad willingness among key audiences to view the 2004 Games in idealistic terms - as a homecoming of the Games to their birthplace and founding values - as long as Greece and Athens could overcome logistical challenges, such as construction, traffic, accommodations, and security. Those insights provided a roadmap for the Organizing Committee that contributed to an Olympics ultimately hailed as the best ever - a safe, efficient, sparkling event that showed four billion viewers around the world a new Greece that combines both ancient heritage and modern dynamism.

Methodology

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner used focus groups, strategic surveys, and in-depth interviews with key audiences in multiple countries to help Mrs. Angelopoulos and the Athens Organizing Committee prepare for the 2004 Olympic Games.