Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bad Girls of Hollywood


Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan
and Nicole Richie

Christie Walsh
Comm 473, Fall 2008
Professor Nichols


America is obsessed with celebrities and celebrity news. There is an entire market for celeb news, with such media outlets as People, OK!, TMZ, E!, etc. Even regular news outlets like FOX and CNN have begun to follow stars personal lives. Today, it seems that talent and hard work are less concentrated on, and more attention is paid to the private lives of celebrities. This comes in handy for a few stars who might have more in the “drama” department than the “talent” one.
Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan are all considered “Bad Girls of Hollywood.” The media, tabloids, and the American public have followed their careers and personal lives. While each of them has had legal problems resulting in jail time and rehab, they continue to be seen in celebrity news, making a name for themselves, holding onto and growing their fame, and, of course, making money.
The purpose of this case study is to find the similarities between each of these stars behavior, and figure out what made them able to “bounce back” from their legal problems, by rebranding themselves. Seeing as each of these girls have had plenty of other “drama,” including sex scandals, homemade pornographic tapes, relationship dramas, pregnancies, family issues, etc, this case study will concentrate specifically on their legal problems and rehabilitation.

Paris HiltonParis Hilton, of the Hilton family, is a famous socialite, who has gained attention for acting, singing, modeling and other business ventures. Paris is known for her role on the television series “The Simple Life,” modeling, her own clothing line, a sex tape titled “One Night in Paris,” minor film roles (including “House of Wax,” 2005). She put out her first CD, self-entitled “Paris” in 2006. (
Paris’s Rap Sheet:· September 2006- Paris was arrested for driving under the influence with a 0.08% blood alcohol level, which is illegal in California. · November 206- License suspended.· January 2007 she pleaded “no contest to the alcohol-related reckless driving charge. Sentenced to 36 months' probation and fines of approximately$1,500.· January 15, 2007- caught driving with a suspended license. Acknowledged the offence.
· February 27, 2007- Paris pulled over driving 70 mph in a 35 mph zone, with a still suspended license. She also did not have her headlights on even though it was after dark. Prosecutors in the office of the Los Angeles City Attorney charged that those actions, along with the failure to enroll in a court-ordered alcohol education program, constituted a violation of the terms of her probation.
· May 4, 2007- sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating her probation. Initially, Hilton planned to appeal the sentence, and supported an online petition asking California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for a pardon. Opponents started a counter-petition supporting the sentence. Both petitions attracted tens of thousands of signatures. Hilton eventually switched lawyers and dropped her appeal.
· June 3, 2007- Paris attended the 2007 MTV Movie Awards. She entered the Century Regional Detention Facility two days later. With credit for good behavior, it was anticipated that Hilton would only serve 23 days of her 45-day sentence.
· June 7, 2007- Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca reassigned Hilton to 40 days of home confinement with an electronic monitoring device due to an unspecified medical condition. Baca commented on the release saying, "My message to those who don't like celebrities is that punishing celebrities more than the average American is not justice," contesting that under normal circumstances, Hilton would not have served any time in jail, and he added that "The special treatment, in a sense, appears to be because of her celebrity status ... She got more time in jail". (She later told Larry King her medical condition was claustrophobia, and not wanting to be alone.”
· Judge Michael Sauer summoned her to reappear in court the following morning (June 8) as the sentencing statement had explicitly said she would serve time in jail with "No work furlough. No work release. No electronic monitoring." At the hearing he declined to be briefed by Hilton's attorney in private chambers on the nature of her condition and sent her back to jail to serve out her original 45-day sentence. Paris was moved to the medical wing of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles
· June 13- Removed from the medical wing.
· June 26, 2007- After serving 22 days, Paris was released. She announced she would visit Rwanda, but later moved he trip from November 2007 to “some time” in 2008.
· June 28, 2007- Two days after her release Paris was interviewed on Larry King. Spoke about the influenced prison minister Marty Angelo had on her and starting a “new beginning.” (

Lindsay Lohan
After getting her start as a child model, Lindsay Lohan began acting at age 10 in a soap opera, and at 11 starred in the Disney remake of “The Parent Trap.” Lindsay she gained fame staring in films including “Mean Girls,” “Freaky Friday,” “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” Lindsay began a singing career as well. Lohan is well known in the Hollywood party scene. (

Lindsay’s Rap Sheet:
· August 2004, October 2005, November 2006- Lohan had series of car accidents. In the final one, there was suspicion of intent on the side of the paperatizo to attack her car.
·2006- During the filming of Georgia Rule that was later made public,[80] James G. Robinson, CEO of the film's production company, Morgan Creek Productions, wrote:
“You and your representatives have told us that your various late arrivals and absences from the set have been the result of illness; today we were told it was 'heat exhaustion'. We are well aware that your ongoing all night heavy partying is the real reason for your so-called 'exhaustion'.”
· January 18, 2007- Lohan checked herself in to the Wonderland Center rehabilitation facility. "I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health,” she stated.
· May 26, 2007, Lohan lost control of her car. Lindsay had cocaine in her car and it was further detected in her blood. She was charged with driving under the influence.
· May 28, 2008- entered a rehab for a 45-day treatment at the Promises Treatment Center.
· July 24, 2007- Lindsay failed a sobriety test after being caught drunkenly fighting with a recently fired assistant in a parking lot. Cocaine was found in her pocket. She was arrested with a felony charge of possession of cocaine, a misdemeanor for driving under the influence, and for driving with a suspended license.
· August 23, 2007- She pleaded guilty to cocaine use and driving under the influence. She was sentenced to one day in jail and then 10 days of community service. She was further ordered to pay fines and complete an alcohol education program, and 3 years probation. “It is clear to me that my life has become completely unmanageable because I am addicted to alcohol and drugs,” Lohan said in a statement.
· In August 2007, Lohan began her rehab at Cirque Lodge Treatment Center in Utah until October 2007. (

Nicole Camille Richie
Nicole is the adopted daughter of Lionel Richie. She is a known for partying, being friends with Paris Hilton, some acting and most notably her role in the reality television show The Simple Life. She now has a child with boyfriend Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. (

Nicole’s Rap Sheet:
· Richie herself has openly admitted that she smoked marijuana at the age of 13, and then progressed to cocaine a year later. At 19, she was injecting heroin (wikipedia)
· February 2003, Richie was arrested in Malibu, California. She was arrested and charged for possession heroin and driving without a license.
· December 11, 2006- Nicole was charged with driving under the influence. Eyewitnesses saw Nicole's car driving the wrong direction. She admitted to smoking marijuana and taking Vicodin before the incident.
· July 27, 2007- She was sentenced to four days in jail. After only 82 minutes of the sentence she was released from the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California on August 23, 2007. A sheriff's department spokesperson told People magazine that Richie "was released early due to overcrowding in the jail system. This is standard procedure for nonviolent offenders.” She then did an 18-month program for anti-drinking and driving. (

Celebrity Obsessed World:
An article in Associated Content covered the issue of American obsession with celebrities. “Our society is addicted to celebrities. There are thousands of citizens who can't wait to read about the personal and professional lives of stars like Beyonce, Madonna and the latest person on the radar. Publicity teams are set in place to help celebrities stay in the spotlight so that they can sell an album, movie or product.“ These stars need to stay in the spotlight to succeed, so a negative story about them is not necessarily bad, but they have to use the spotlight to eventually help their brand. (

Similar Cases:
Whitney Houston- Though never arrested, Whitney has also had problems with drug abuse and has gone to rehab. While she was a prominent star in the 80’s and 90’s, she later was accused of drug abuse with husband Bobby Brown. In an interview with Diane Sawyer Huston admitted to drug use but said, "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight. Okay? We don't do crack. We don't do that. Crack is wack." Her attitude and unprofessionalism cost her dearly, and her “Crack is wack” quote became a joke. Audiences were not convinced, even momentarily that she was clean or that she was remorseful for her actions. ''My business is sex, drugs, rock and roll... I partied a lot,” she said in a report to E! News at age 39. (,,396064,00.html) While “all news is good news” works for the other girls, it didn’t work for Houston, because there was never any redeeming factor. Unlike the other girls Houston failed to show her rehabilitation or charity work, which helped the other three to turn around their images in the media.

PLANNING: How the Bad Girls Maintain publicity and earnings
· All news is good news: With so many media outlets based primarily around celebrity news (TMZ, Access Hollywood, E!, People, etc) and even classic news outlets following celebrities and their every move, it is clear that these girls need to get their names out there. The fact is celebrities living quiet lives often get less press then others who are out in the nightlife, even those getting “bad press.” But that is how we have learned that no press is bad press. That is why even when it seems these girls aren’t working, they are still making money. No matter what they are actually doing, it has to be news worthy. And it is. So, each of these stars used their legal problems (because that’s what they had to use at the time) to capitalize and gain more fame.

“Jail bad? It’s just another way to get publicity” by Michael Ventre
· “However, it isn’t the day-to-day routine of confinement that is the attraction here for Paris Hilton, it’s the aftermath. When she finally finishes her stretch, she will have street cred, which is the one thing on Earth she can’t buy, although don’t think one of her minions hasn’t contacted Sotheby’s to inquire.”
· “Jail may turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to Paris Hilton.”

EXECUTION: How they executed a post-jail comeback.

· Focus on “rehabilitation”:
Each of these girls did a stint or two in rehab and jail, and used it to their benefit. Paris’s jail time was widely covered by all news outlets, as was Nicole’s and Lindsay’s. When ending rehab all the girls did interviews about how much they have changed.
On a Larry King interview Paris said, “it definitely -- it was a very traumatic experience, but I feel like God does make everything happen for a reason. And it gave me, you know, a time-out in life to really find out what's important and what I want to do, figuring out who I am. And I'm -- even though it was really hard, I took that time just to get to know myself.” (
Lindsay’s first interview after her third time in rehab was with OK! Magazine. She said to the magazine, "It was a sobering experience. It made me look at myself and all the people, places and things in my life in a different way.” She told the magazine she planned to avoid Hollywood and concentrate on her career and being clean instead. (
In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Nicole Richie and her boyfriend talked about how Nicole had changed since her arrest and pregnancy. "Besides being responsible for myself, I'm now responsible for someone else. And I have to set the right examples. I have to really be someone that I would want my child to look up to,” she said. (

· Charity:
Paris Hilton told E! News, "I'll be going (to Rwanda) in November, after I get back from filming my movie. There's so much need in that area, and I feel like if I go, it will bring more attention to what people can do to help." While her trip to Rwanda seems to be on permanent hold, Paris did go to South Africa with her boyfriend in March of 2008. After the trip she said, "I LOVE Africa in general, South Africa and West Africa. They are both great countries," she said, according to various reports.” While, there is no such country as West Africa, and her efforts may not be exactly well educated, she did do some volunteer work with children in South Africa. (
In November 2007, Richie and Joel Madden created The Richie Madden Children's Foundation. According to their website, the foundation supports programs that "provide immediate aid and seek out programs that are addressing the underlying causes of suffering and provide sustainable solutions. On her website Nicole wrote, “This past year, philanthropy has opened my eyes to so much need and so much beauty. I have also realized how easy it is to help, and how rewarding it feels to be able to make a positive difference in someone's life.” Her foundation says in the website that it is ‘currently raising money to build a playground for children living with their families in a homeless shelter. We’re pleased to announce the launch of ‘Text CHILD to 90999’, a new campaign to raise funds to help kids through a new kind of fundraising – with a simple text message. Each text message donates $5, billed to your phone bill. This is the first time a campaign is using popular culture mass media to raise funds with the new technology, so we’re excited to see how much we can raise.” (
Lohan has publicized her work with Hear the World, The One Campaign, Save the Children, and TRIAD. Her most publicized work is with Hear the World. According to their website, Hear the World “is an initiative by Phonak that aims to raise awareness of the topic of hearing and hearing loss and to promote good hearing all over the world. The goal of the Hear the World Initiative is to educate the general public about the importance of hearing, the social and emotional impacts and the benefits of available solutions for those with hearing loss.
” (

· Paris Hilton earned approximately $2 million in 2003–2004, $6.5 million in 2004–2005, and $7 million in 2005–2006.” (Forbes). She now stars in her own show, “Paris Hilton’s: My New BFF.” Her new single “My BFF,” from her yet to be released album, premiered September 30th of this year and is the theme song for her show. (

· Forbes has Lindsay Lohan listed with over $6 million in earnings. Her leggings line “6126” was launched October of 2008. She is working on a new album called “Spirit in the Dark.” (Forbes)

· Nicole Richie earned 1 million for posing nude with her man in People Magazine. She also earned $2.5 million from a spokesperson contract Jimmy Choo and the novel "The Truth About Diamonds." Rumors have her in a TV development deal with Fox. She also is working on her own pop album. (Forbes).

While I don’t think any of these stars make exactly good role models for young people, it is clear that Hollywood, the media, and we the public have an obsession with hearing about other peoples failings and legal problems. We thirst to hear about their failures, and we look forward to watching them claw their way out from the hole they got themselves into. Often, there is less “news” to report on a successful star who does not get in trouble, like for instance Scarlet Johansson. That does not take away Scarlet's fame, but the truth is that the stars with the “bad” publicity are still getting the publicity, and often more of it!
In making their comebacks, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie all concentrated on their rehabilitation and their charity work. They have made themselves into a brand. In some ways their jail time (however brief it may have been) has given them a form of street cred. It also makes them relatable and real. They are not merely fashionable people who do whatever they want; they are real people who (have learned that they too) have to abide by the same laws as we normal people.
While Paris, Nicole, and Lindsay all had great publicists and maybe did some thinking on their own too in order to come out of legal problems with success, their move is still not advisable. Truly talented actresses who stay out of legal problems can succeed more in the long run, where as the up and down road of drug and alcohol abuse is a dangerous one to take (or drive).

Works Cited:,,396064,00.html

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Green Got Cool

As we push further into the new millennium, the concept of green living has gotten a makeover. Environmental issues are no longer isolated to special interest groups such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Adirondack Mountain Club, to name a few, but have rather become an issue staring every man, woman, and child straight in the face. This issue does not, per se, affect our generation, but more so, future generations. As green living no longer finds itself as an alternative lifestyle, marketers are capitalizing on an opportunity to tap into a new segment of the market: the eco-friendly consumer.

As green living has become more prevalent in the United States, it has not only become acceptable, but at times a fashion statement, especially among youth consumers. In this analysis, we will take a look at how three companies, Toyota, Honda and Whole Foods Markets, have positioned themselves as green initiators and cemented their place as eco-friendly companies. These three companies, along with many others, are at the forefront of noveau-green resurgence. In an effort to expand their market share and boost the bottom line, they were able to effectively bring green living back to life.


In 1997, Toyota began production of the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, the Prius. After success in Japan where it was sold exclusively, the Prius made its way to the U.S. in 2001. The original American Prius model ran on a 1.5 liter, 4 cylinder engine, along with a permanent magnet A/C electric motor with MSRP under $20,000.

In 2004 the Prius was completely redesigned into a slightly larger, sleeker and sexier automobile. As its popularity grows, many have found the Prius to be harder to come by with many potential buyers finding themselves on wait-lists to purchase the vehicle.


In 2005, Toyota undertook the challenge of finding Australia’s “Greenest” celebrity in order to leverage them as environmentally credible and generate positive publicity of the Prius.

Using National Tree Day as a launching pad, they were able to create media opportunities using celebrities and Toyota ambassadors including world renowned environmentalist David Suzuzki, to participate in a photo shoot demonstrating how driving a Prius for a week could reduce CO2 emissions as effectively as planting 21 trees.

Australian debutante and Miss Universe 2004, Jennifer Hawkins was commissioned to plant trees creating buzz leading to National Tree Day. Prius’ were also loaned to media personalities to secure substantial endorsement.

Toyota was able to position themselves as the vehicle of choice for environmentally conscious drivers through a feature on the eco-friendly show, The Great Outdoors on Australia’s Channel Seven.

Through their strategy, Toyota achieved coverage through many different outlets including radio, national and local TV as well as a number of placements in consumer publications with a positive image for Toyota.

Toyota has also reached out into the social marketing realm to address criticism from environmental advocacy groups claiming Toyota is “two-faced on fuel economy”. The company has made numerous online and offline efforts in support of their green initiatives. Toyota is in a position to balance their green products versus their not-so-eco-friendly products. However, any consumer interested in Toyota’s green initiatives can visit their Open Road blog to read “Being Green”.

Toyota has revamped their Web site to showcase their Hybrid Synergy Drive technology and have added a hybrid filter to their online showroom. In addition, they have initiated a community site for Toyota Hybrid owners enabling them to create a profile based on their reasons for purchase.

Through their initiatives, positioning themselves as a green leader, Toyota has been named one of the top ten “Greenest Brands” and as of 2007 has sold over one million Hybrid vehicles.


Although Honda Motor Company is relatively small compared to other Japanese car manufacturers, Honda is the largest engine maker in the world. Honda also had the first engine to pass the 1970 U.S. Clean Air Act. The Civic, Accord and Prelude were the only Honda vehicles sold in the U.S. up until the 1990s when Honda decided to expand their model lineup. In particular, the Honda Civic is the second-longest continually running nameplate from a Japanese manufacturer.

Since its premiere, the Civic has undergone several generational changes, making it attractive to a younger, hipper customer, ranging in ages 18-34. To reach out to this audience, Honda launched the Honda Civic Live Tour, a six-city tour featuring live concerts by leading bands such as the Black-Eyed Peas, John Legend and 311 combined with a festival and test drives of the Civic.

This event was a first for Honda, allowing them to team with The Powell Group to leverage the car to “tuners”, predominately young car enthusiasts who customize their vehicles to increase performance, personalize appearance, and enhance the volume of their engines and audio equipment. This market segment was exactly what Honda was after to align the car as a hip, urban trend. They were also able to create successful radio partnerships with local stations to promote the tour.

The Honda Civic Live Tour generated a total of 6.4 million impressions with an estimated $250,000 in publicity value. Not only was Honda able to generate strong traffic into the showrooms, but they were able to reach out to their target audience, providing this hip and upcoming audience with the notion that Honda is the “it” car of our time. Their ability to leverage themselves as the cool car for this younger audience has ultimately led them to align their “cool” factor with their green cars as well.

The Civic Hybrid is the most economic and environmentally responsible gasoline-powered Civic ever. The 2006 Civic Hybrid was so well received by consumers, that it has won the 2006 World Car of the Year Award for greenest car.

Akin to Toyota, Honda is able to promote their green initiatives through interactive and educational online marketing. The site, offers consumers a visually appealing and informative site. Honda was also named one of the top ten “Greenest Brands”


Another leader in the eco-friendly marketplace is Whole Foods Market, based in Austin, TX. Whole Foods Market’s mission—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet; reflects its care and concern for the environment. A key component of the Whole Foods mission is to be a leader in comprehensive environmental stewardship and the company has made an ongoing commitment to green power.

To many, Whole Foods has become a vested part of green living. Consumers say shopping at WFM has become a part of their lifestyle, as the company is noted for having high prices but historically, it has also been a leader in community outreach. In order to position itself as the leading natural food retailer and the go-to marketplace for the eco-friendly shoppers, Whole Foods Market focused on the “Whole Foods Experience” creating unique shopping environments catering specifically to each distinct season utilizing seasonal products and unique items within the stores. Outside the store, Whole Foods Market media outreach emphasized their community support and environmental stewardship practices as well as positioning the company as an industry leader in topical issues in terms of agriculture, food production and consumption.
To further cement their place as a hub of environmental friendliness, many Whole Foods Markets have begun holding seminars on green lifestyle, in and out of the kitchen including seminars on renewable wind energy. Whole Food’s has also publicized itself as a green leader through its Green Power standing. WFM is recognized by the EPA for running on 100% Green Power and has used this standing as leverage to differentiate from competitors.

Whole Foods is still making progress to maintain standing as the greenest brand. As of January 2008, Whole Foods eliminated all plastic shopping bags and now offer only 100% recyclable paper bags. WFM also offers stylish grocery sacks for a low cost.

A unique trait of Whole Foods Market’s CSR initiative is their community dedication. Whole Foods Market has consistently focused on supporting local agriculture, and community citizenship. Each year, WFM allocates a minimum of 5% of their profit into the local communities, generally dispersed throughout the year to a number of groups.

Ultimately, by keeping itself in the local media through community initiatives as well as creating store loyalty, Whole Foods Market has maintained itself as the top green brand in the U.S. and is a staple of green living.


The three companies presented above have done an exceptional job at keeping the youth market involved with green initiatives through the use of hip and “cool” tactics. This effort positioned the green lifestyle in a fashionable light, building a platform for future green initiatives. It has also diminished pre-existing notions toward environmental-friendly living. Each of these companies has made it a priority to show the exact impact of customers’ loyalty to the business in terms of green lifestyle. Whether reducing your emissions by purchasing a hybrid car or supporting green power through Whole Foods Green Power initiatives, consumers know their brand loyalty makes the difference.

These companies are exceptionally successful because they are not making sacrifices when it comes to the bottom line. In fact, they are the pioneers in green marketing. Their marketing efforts have proven to be successful from both a consumer standpoint as well as a business perspective. Honda was able to reach out to a young audience with their music tour by incorporating Honda’s green values with prominent celebrities and musicians. Toyota was able to accelerate the Hybrid from the drawing board to a reality. They were able to effectively and cost-efficiently partner with green campaigns such as National Tree Day to align themselves as a green company. Whole Foods was able to position themselves as the retailer of the green lifestyle by extensive community support and an ongoing commitment to green initiatives.

These companies have created a solid foundation for the future of green marketing. Now that marketing has taken this course, the green issue will always be in play. Consumers will start to question whether or not businesses are doing their part to practice environmental responsibility, whether at consumer level or at the executive level. This movement has created a mutually beneficial relationship for three distinct parties: the companies, the public and the environment. In the foreseeable future, there seems to be no end to the trend. Until environmental issues begin to resolve, campaigns like these will be commonplace amongst everyone else.

Public relations professionals agree that green lifestyle coming to the mainstream is not just a passing phenomenon. Monica Del Rosario, an account executive with Hill & Knowlton's New York office has worked extensively with Green Cross International, specifically with their global solar report card efforts. "Stories about sustainability have been getting picked up more frequently than ever". said Del Rosario. "Everybody wants to see where they stand in comparison with others. The bar is definitely in the process of being set as to the standard of what it means to be green."

Del Rosario also noted that living green has become sexier in the media. "You may have noticed this recently, but driving an Escalade is much less sexy now a days. Green is profitable. Leo DiCaprio drives a Prius and Brad Pitt is trying to rebuild New Orleans with all green materials." said Del Rosario. "Being green has caught on big time and this is proof that it is most definitely cool."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Lance’s Legacy

At a young age, Lance was one of the world’s top cyclists. He won multiple World Championships, the Tour Du Pont and many Tour de France stages. Lance was nearing the peak of his cycling career. At age 25, Lance was diagnosed with cancer.
His diagnosis was testicular cancer and is the most common cancer in men ages 15-35. With early detection, chances of curing the disease are 90 percent. Yet, Lance ignored the warning signs and went untreated until the cancer spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain.
With a combination of physical conditioning, a strong support system and a competitive spirit, Lance declared himself a cancer survivor, not a cancer victim. He actively sought education about his disease and treatment, underwent aggressive treatment and eventually beat the disease.
Before he was fully recovered and knew his own fate, Lance established the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This was the start of his life as an activist for people living with cancer and world representative to the cancer community.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation
"At the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), we inspire and empower people affected by cancer. For more than 10 years, the Foundation and its founder, cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, have partnered with other organizations and dedicated advocates to make cancer a national priority in the United States. Now the Lance Armstrong Foundation is taking the battle to fight cancer global.”
The Lance Armstrong Foundation was founded in 1997 by Lance Armstrong. LAF was created to offer cancer patients information, knowledge, and attitude that are important for dealing with cancer and its exhausting treatments.
LAF is founded on four key programs that provide resources that cancer victims can utilize to help battle and deal with the difficulties of their illness. The first program focuses on education and offers patients and their doctors the information they need to successfully choose the right treatment method. Education not only concentrates on medical advice, but it is also open to give emotional support as well.
Another of the core programs is advocacy, especially at political gatherings and lobby sessions where representatives of people suffering from cancer encourage the government to take action against the war on cancer. Representation can help increase research funding and promote new scientific options that may lead to treatment options in the future.
A public health program is the third program that offers cancer patients and their families post treatment support and special services. The ultimate goal of the LAF is to further cancer research. Through extensive fundraising, the donated money supports and offers financial assistance to doctors and scientists to develop clinical trials and medications to provide advanced cancer treatment. The funding also aides programs who aim to improve the lives of those living with cancer and assisting them with the daily challenges.
LAF has invested more than $18.7 million in research grants. The Lance Armstrong Foundation believes that “knowledge is power and unity is strength”.

“Wear Yellow Live Strong”

In 2003, LAF launched two educational resources, the LiveStrong Survivorship Notebook and the LiveStrong online Resource for Cancer Survivors. Both provide information on the physical, practical and emotional aspects of surviving the disease. They are free resources for cancer victims, survivors and families to explore.
In response to the start of Lance’s LiveStrong theme, Nike approached LAF to create 5 million yellow wristbands with “LIVESTRONG” engraved on them in support of Lance during his sixth Tour de France.
The yellow wristband has its roots in “baller bands,” rubber bands that street basketball players wear on their wrists to get psyched up for games. Nike initially thought to make baller bands with different messages for promotional items, but the idea wrapped around the LiveStrong campaign instead.
The wristbands’ start was support for Lance’s efforts in both cycling and raising awareness for cancer across the nation. Armstrong and his entire team wore the yellow wristband.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike launched the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign on May 17, 2004.The campaign’s goals were to raise money for cancer research, increase cancer awareness and encourage people to live life to the fullest. Nike’s goal was to raise $5 million through wristband sales on top of the $1 million they donated to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. All proceeds would eventually go to LAF in efforts to raise $25 million.
This was a significant milestone for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Nike’s corporate relationship, considering Nike was the only sponsor to stick with Lance when he was diagnosed with cancer. During the 2004 Summer Olympics, the wristbands were given to each U.S. athlete to wear on their arm to show support.
The wristbands became an astounding craze overnight and gave rise to “cause marketing” –the pairing of a product with a social mission. Both the 2004 Tour de France and Summer Olympics created national media attention for Lance’s LiveStrong wristband. Media such as People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, and Advertising Age were drawn to this yellow rubber silicon wristband. Appearances and endorsements on television shows such as Oprah raised the wristbands profile to a fashionable level.

The Wristband

The alliance between Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation not only created an awareness wristband, but it also sparked a consumer craze. The wristbands cost $1 a piece and the proceeds go directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Everything about the wristband breathes Lance. The engraved “LiveStrong” is the foundation’s motto. The color yellow signifies the lead rider’s jersey in the Tour de France and is also the color of hope.
After their debut, the wristbands were worn by Lance and his team at the Tour de France; the U.S. Summer Olympic athletes; celebrities such as Matt Damon, Bruce Willis and Robin Williams; and even politicians such as John Kerry. They were summer 2004’s hardest item to get. Many resorted to the eBay market with hopes of obtaining these charitable wristbands.
Although eBay provided new ground for wristband sales, people were buying them for prices well beyond their original price. People could have easily donated $1 or more to the Lance Armstrong foundation, but it was the visual symbol of concern that was valued more so than the actual cause it was supporting. The wristbands posed a question whether philanthropy was posing as fashion or vice versa.
Philanthropy as a fashion statement goes back to earlier days. Since ancient times, people wore jewelry as a way of expressing some sentiment, feeling or as a symbol. The wristband is a modern adaptation of an age old tradition; jewelry as a symbol of hope, courage and support of a worthy cause.
However, the wristbands are usually worn for personal reasons, whether to support someone fighting cancer or tribute to someone who has lost their battle. The bright yellow attracts attention and has been compared to the red AIDS awareness ribbons. The difference between the AIDS ribbon and the LiveStrong wristband is the lack of controversy surrounding the wristband’s visible concern for cancer.
The most interesting facet of the wristband is its association with Lance’s heroic battle over cancer at the peak of his fame. The LiveStrong wristband satisfies the desire to have something to believe in, making it a “champion of the good-will game”. Cause Marketing Forum President David Hessekiel says it best,
“If this was a bracelet done by an obscure organization, and didn’t have the celebrity attached that created this buzz, we wouldn’t be talking about.”
The wristband zoomed in on the power of today’s youth. The wristband carries a simple message that even kids can identify with. In particular, teenagers were drawn to it because not only do proceeds go to a good cause, but it is a cheap way to look cool. The wristband was versatile and could be worn with any outfit. The LiveStrong craze was a powerful reminder to businesses not to underestimate the power of the youth consumer market.
By 2005, fifty-five million wristbands were wrapped around people’s arms. In spite of the fashion trend they started, the wristband-clad community understood the real meaning behind the wristband.

Going Strong

The “Wear Yellow Live Strong” campaign has been through years of continued success. The wristband is still visibly worn on many arms, but not to the extent that it was in the early stages of the campaign. The wristband’s popularity followed a bell curve path. However, LiveStrong is at its all-time high today today. The campaign has grown through social marketing ( and, special events, and LiveStrong Challenges. Nike and LAF have even extended the LiveStrong line by adding the “10/2” collection. A dollar from each sale goes to LAF.
Betty Otter-Nickerson, the Chief Operating Officer at the Lance Armstrong Foundation said it’s busier than ever with Lance getting back on the bike to train for the 2009 Tour de France and the campaign’s move to go global.
Ms. Otter-Nickerson said the number one thing they must focus on with globalization, is the mere fact that they must expand their message to reach the key countries. The Lance Armstrong Foundation conducted research to determine their target countries by assessing public perception of cancer, media audits and press coverage, and the medical environment. They determined their target countries would be Italy, South Africa, and Mexico. Their global message will emphasize the fact that cancer kills more than 8 million people every year worldwide which totals more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The LiveStrong campaign is leveraging Lance to carry this message as he makes his comeback to the cycling world.

LiveStrong Lessons

The LiveStrong campaign gave us a charitable cause and paired it with an element of fashion, making it a very successful campaign. After the initial release of the wristband, many non-profit organizations followed in LAF’s footsteps, pushing for donations in return for a colorful wristband to let others know of one’s philanthropic efforts.
However, the LiveStrong wristband posed an issue for some. People started purchasing the wristband for fashion purposes rather than for the original cause. In my opinion this was one of the few flaws to the campaign. It got too big for its own good. However, as time went on, the underlying message resounded its tune and people were brought back from the fashion element they gravitated toward.
Sales on eBay created a black market for the wristband, creating demand so high that prices increased and people were essentially giving their money to profiteers for the dollar-worth wristband. Once again, I think the craze grew too fast. Supply couldn’t keep up with demand; such high sales were not inticipated.
The yellow wristband filled a creneau for philanthropies and called it cause marketing. People who donated to foundations could now visibly announce their generosity. It also filled a creneau in the fashion world. The wristband is versatile enough to be worn with almost any outfit while sharing Lance’s and the Foundation’s message of living strong.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a similar foundation rooted in their effort to raise money for breast cancer research. Instead of fashionable wristbands, Susan G. Komen for the Cure prides themselves in the pink ribbon that so many women and their supporters wear. Both foundations established themselves as the leading foundations for cancer through the use of special events and corporate relationships.
I think Lance’s return to cycling to spread the global message comes at a good time. LiveStrong has fallen off the media map in the past few months. I have always been taught that with growth comes globalization and vice versa. LiveStrong’s globalization efforts not only signal the campaign’s success up until this point, but also shows the impact that this message imparts on its audience. People across the globe want to see and hear this message. LAF’s message speaks truth and that truth is that cancer is the number one killer in the United States and kills 8 million people every year worldwide. This is an astounding truth, but the Lance Armstrong Foundation is giving people the resources they need to live happy and to live strong.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Britney Spears: From Pop Star to Pop Wreck...and Back Again?


Britney Spears has had a very controversial and highly publicized personal, familial and professional battle for the past 2 years. After hitting absolute rock bottom in every facet of her life, in January 2008, the people behind Spears knew that something had to be done. Before the year was up that “something” had been done and Spears seems to be back on track with herself, her family and her career as she is set to release a new album before the year is up.


Britney Spears is an American pop musician and performer who has also done work as an actress and author. She was born in December 1981 and raised in the small town of Kentwood, La. Spears showed an interest in performing at a young age. When she was only 8 years old she auditioned for The New Mickey Mouse Club. Although she was turned away because of her age, three years later she was hired and remained employed there until 1994.

Spears took time off to attend high school until Jive records signed her as a solo artist in 1997. She first came into the spotlight at the end of 1998 releasing her hit record, Baby One More Time, which sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Spears went on to put out three more records, Oops!...I Did It Again, Britney and In The Zone as well as a greatest hits album, Greatest Hits: My Perogative. During this time, she also had many endorsements including Pepsi and a line of Elizabeth Arden perfumes. Spears was expected to make her comeback at the 2007 MTV video music awards, but her performance received extensive criticism. This was the only promotion Spears did for her sixth and most recent album, Blackout, which was released on Oct. 30, 2007.

Not only known for her music, Spears’ personal life is often in the spotlight as well. In January 2004, she married childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas, only to have the marriage annulled after 55 hours. That same year in July, Spears announced her engagement to Kevin Federline, a backup dancer whom she had known for three months. The couple stayed married until Nov. 7, 2006 and in that time had two children, Sean Preston Federline and Jayden James Federline.

In 2007, Spears’ personal life seemed to be spiraling out of control. Her family and management team forced her into rehab in February, but she checked herself out two days later. The following night, Spears infamously shaved her head and then re-entered rehab. She remained in rehab until March 2007. However, her series of controversial behavior have continued since then.

She cut off ties from her family and has had a constant flow of management teams, lawyers and personal assistants in and out of her life. She has attacked paparazzi on several occasions and has been involved in a number of traffic violations including a hit and run and driving without a license. She is also consistently photographed partying and staying out late. Due to this erratic behavior, Spears began to be seen as an unfit parent and a legal battle over the custody of her children arose. In September 2007, the outcome of Spears’ custody battle was announced. She has been ordered to undergo random drug and alcohol testing and to attend parental counseling. Spears and Federline initially had joint custody of their two children, but on Oct. 1, 2007 Federline got full custody of the children.

In early 2008 it proved that things must really get worse before they can get better. On Jan. 3 Spears locked herself and one of her sons in the bathroom of her Studio City home and refused to come out. After a while she finally opened the door and she was taken out of her home on a stretcher. Following this incident Federline was given full custody of their children and Spears was not granted any visitation. On Jan. 28 Spears parents arrive ready to take control and 3 days later, Jan. 31, she was checked into a UCLA psychiatric center for what was supposed to be a 72 hour stay. Instead Spears did not leave until Feb. 6. During her stay Spears father, Jaime, was placed as the conservator of her finances until the end of 2008. For 2 months Spears was kept relatively out of the spotlight. In early May, Spears’ visitation rights with her sons, which had been granted after her father took over her finances, were greatly expanded. In July, those rights were set in place to include 3 visits each week including overnight stays. In the following months news about Spears’ personal life took the back seat to the news regarding her teenage sister’s pregnancy. However, in April it was confirmed that Spears had reconnected with longtime manager Larry Rudolph, whom she had fired in 2007. With much progress being made, Spears was set to appear at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. With a disastrous “come-back” at the 2007 VMAs all eyes were on Spears.

Sept. 7, 2008: Spears opens the VMAs to a standing ovation. Spears looked very put together and spoke with eloquence. She went onto win 3 awards that night thanking her fans every time and not once mentioning her past. Later in September, Spears announced that her new album, Circus, will be out on Dec.2, her 27 birthday. She also released her new single, Womanizer, to great reviews. On Oct.10, 2008, Spears released the video for Womanizer on ABCs 20/20. Also released, was Spears intention to debut, on MTV, a documentary on Nov. 30 entitled, "Britney: For The Record."


Britney Spears could have, at one point, been considered a corporation. However, from early 2007 until now she has not had the teams or plans to be considered a corporation. Before Spears fired her management and was left by her PR person, it was known that Spears had to be put back on the right track in the public eye. The plans for her “comeback” would have been relatively simple and had been done before which can be seen in the cases of Robert Downey Jr. and Whitney Houston.

Robert Downey Jr.: Downey started his acting career at the early age of 5, appearing in his father’s films throughout the 70s. His career took off in the 80s and early 90s as he appeared in many Brat Pack films and won an Academy award for Chaplin in 1992. However it was during this time that Downey developed a severe drug habit, one that would come into the spot light in 1996. After his first arrest there was a constant string of other arrests and infractions, due to his drug addiction, that would lead to a year in prison and nearly no acting jobs for 3 years. In 2000 Downey was hired to join the cast of Ally McBeal, and was highly acclaimed in his acting, but that would not last long. In 2001, Downey was arrested again and forced to leave the show. It would be 3 years before Downey would get a significant movie. In the mid 2000s Downey appeared clean and made a major comeback appearing in several films, to be topped off with Iron Man.

Whitney Houston: At the peak of her popularity in 1992 Houston had a Hit record and movie out. It was in this same year that she married Bobby Brown. Brown had been in various legal troubles and already had three children by different women. Despite the skeptics, Houston had a child in 1993. In 2000 Houston and Brown were caught with drugs in their luggage at an airport. From that point on drug allegations continued for Houston, her album sales dropped and her erratic behavior was more noticeable Throughout the marriage Brown had many run-ins with the law, as well as charges for drug possession. In 2004 Houston went in to rehabilitation for unknown substances or problem and then went back in 2005, and completed the program. After divorcing Brown in 2006, Houston has withdrawn from many public appearances and has recorded a new album to be released in the coming months.

The interesting thing about Spears’ case is that most of her courses of action were not influenced by a PR professional. The initial push for Spears to go into rehab to get her life in order was from on-again-off-again manager Larry Rudolf, a move for which he was fired. It was once her family got involved that Spears life took a turn for the better. She was forced into rehab and forced to give up control of her finances. Her father now had control over how she spent her money, which therefore meant he had control over what she did and where she went. After many months of this control, Spears seemed to be going in the right direction. It was during this time that Spears began her new album and started getting healthier. As with Houston, Spears dropped out of the spotlight drastically. She was no longer seen partying till all hours of the morning and was rarely seen not well dressed. It took over a year and for many drastic things to happen for her life to finally be under control.


After an attempt to connect Spears old PR manager went unanswered, I contacted Lou Iacovelli from Altelier Creative Services, a PR firm, to find out what he would have done in regards to the Britney Spears case. I met Iacovelli during my summer internship at Gottex Models this summer. He is a style consultant who also handles what models wear the Gottex bathing suits. I asked him initially if there was anything he would have done differently and he said “Everything…except what ever is being done right now.” Further explanation revealed that as a PR professional he would have never left his client when she was so deep in trouble, however given the specific circumstances he thinks it was justified: “I understand why her people would have left her, but I hope that they did everything in their power before they took that step.” From a PR professional’s perspective, this is one of the worst clients you could have: one that has made no attempt to neither follow the guidelines provided for them nor show concern about their image. Iacovelli also said that it is hard to gain the trust that is needed for a client to place, essentially, their life in your hands. It is unclear if Spears retained Pr help in light of her “new” management or not. “In the past couple months, I think, that things with her were handled as best they could be…if it were my client I would probably have had her get better extensions.” A jab at Spears hair was his way of saying that she could still use people in her life that monitor what she wears and how she looks. Although it may be demeaning to dress a 26 year old mother of 2, it is “vital that her appearances be flawless” because it is these appearances that she is judged upon.


The media has been nothing but brutal honest and sever in their coverage of Spears and her turmoil. But it can be said that without the media the people who eventually made all of the right decisions would have never know how bad the situation had become. She has had many opportunities to explain her actions to many different reporters and/or talk show hosts: Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen, Diane Sawyer and Matt Lauer. However, not all of these interviews did great things for her image, especially not the catastrophe of an interview with Matt Lauer in 2006. Having no professional hair, make-up or wardrobe, Spears smacked her gum through an interview that discredited anything she had to say because of how she looked. The media has had nothing positive, aside from her reading a prompter at the 2008 VMAs, to show or disprove what gossip writers/photographers give them.

Spears official website has been “Under Construction” since, at least, November 2007. This is the perfect outlet for her PR people to get the facts from so they can have accurate reports. Her Myspace page is strictly a place for fans to hear her latest tunes, write comments of support or scrutiny, look at pictures and to read blogs about upcoming, already publicized events. It may seem trivial, but these media outlets are the main way for Spears to reach her fans and set the record straight. When searched in Google, the second site listed is her official website and yet there is nothing there for a fan to see. A well designed website could do a lot for her image in that it is a perfect place to highlight all of the good things she has going on in her life and to promote her new album. It will be interesting to see how she handles her first sit-down interview in close to 3 years. In the clips that have been leaked it looks as though Spears is in a much better state than she was in 2006 with Matt Lauer.

On a positive note, it does not seem that Spears’ mother’s tell-all book has affected Spears or her fans’ opinion of her. Even thought the book divulges very personal information regarding Spears’ sexuality, relationships and family relations. The book was the first test to her “comeback,” if she could weather this everything else would come easier. For instance, the night before the video for Womanizer aired the song was the top-selling song on i-Tunes. This could be a great sign of things to come especially regarding the relationship between Spear and the media.


A lot can be learned from this case, especially for someone like me who wants to go into the entertainment aspect of PR. I think that this is one of the toughest cases that and PR person could come across. Spears was relentless in living her own life and doing her own thing. She fired her PR people, her PR people left her and she went sans PR people. However, the past 6 to 7 months have been, in my opinion, have been picture-perfect from a PR standpoint. It is still unclear whether or not she has had professional help with her publicity or not, however what is being done is right out of a public relations text book. The public sees that her life is being controlled: her father taking over as conservator; they see that she is concentrating on getting her children back: she has been granted more visits with her toddler sons; they see that she is taking her career seriously: photos of her rehearsing her dances, a new video and a new album pending. These things, coupled with a decreased presence in the media of her daily occurrences, are helping Spears get her career and life back to normal. Whether it was her family, her management or her PR manager, the correct steps are being taken in restoring this once pop wreck back to her pop star status.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beijing Olympics by Tim Ballas and Emily Kanoff

For centuries, the Olympic Games have provided billions of people with amazing sports entertainment. From Gods and mortals, Hercules and Michael Phelps, the Olympics open the world to more super-human strength, agility and pure talent than they have ever seen. Every stroke in the water, stride on the track, and score of the goal helps to unite the world in a moment of pure joy and excitement. Every four years countries from around the globe send their best athletes to compete in games that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Records are broken, proud countries rejoice, dreams come true. In the summer of 2008, it happened in Beijing.
This case study examines the most recent Olympic Games in Beijing and the controversies that went along with them. Along with providing background and history of the Ancient and Modern versions of the games, the study reveals how and why Beijing was chosen as host city and the years of preparation that it took to hold such an event. During the games, Beijing became the latest casualty in the long list of host cities that have encountered scandals. These scandals will be examined along with comparisons to previous games in which boycotts, protests, and terrorism threatened to overshadow the good intentions of the world event. Finally, the study observes how China responded to the criticism and how the world has reacted since many controversies have been uncovered.

History of Olympics Games
The Olympic Games are an international sport event that celebrates the talent and dedication of thousands of participants while bringing the world together for a common event every two years for both Summer and Winter games. The games date back to Ancient Greece where Olympians were honored with statues and poems, and despite a several century break, they continue to be the world’s most exciting event. The games can be broken down into two sections: The Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Movement.
The Ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece. No one knows for sure, but according to popular legend, the god Zeus held sporting events in honor of his succession to the throne of heaven. One of his sons, Hercules, defeated his brothers in a running race and was crowned with a wreath of wild olive branches. Hercules is also given credit for naming the winner of each event an ‘Olympian’ as well as deciding to hold the games every four years. From then on, the Olympic Games became a part of the Greece’s culture and held extreme importance both socially and religiously, with its popularity climaxing in the 5th and 6th centuries B.C. Olympians were treated as celebrities and heroes with statues and figures created in their honor. Over time, Roman power in Greece overshadowed the popularity of the Games. In 393 AD Emperor Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the religion of the Empire and due to the games pagan roots, the Olympic Games were banned.
Nearly 1500 years later, the Olympic Games were brought back to the modern world. Although similar games were held before on a smaller and more local scale, it was Baron Pierre de Coubertin who started the preparation for a multi-national Olympic Event. While researching the reasons for the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, he theorized that the French soldiers were not given proper physical education. In order to bring attention to the need for physical activity, he proposed to bring back the Games that were so important centuries before.
The first Games of the Modern Olympic Movement were held in 1896, in Athens, Greece. The International Olympic Committee, or IOC, was responsible for putting together the massive event. This Olympic governing body still continues to organize that event today. The Games were held from April 6 to April 15, 1896 and hosted nearly 250 athletes who participated in nine different sports. These included athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling. The Games were considered a huge success with an outpouring of support from fans who overcrowded the Panathinaiko Stadium day after day to become that largest crowd to ever watch a sporting event at the time.
With each new Olympic Games, more sports were added and new countries participated. It was for this reason that in 1921 the IOC decided to split winter and summer sports into two completely separate entities. Although they would be held the same year, the Summer and Winter Games created equality between the sports and helped spectators focus on one aspect of the Games at a time. The first Winter Olympics were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France. It was in 1994 that the IOC mandated that the Winter and Summer Olympics be played every four years on alternating cycles.
Over the last century the Olympic Games have continued to draw unrivaled interest and dedication from fans and athletes all over the world. The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing drew the largest television ratings in United States history and with 302 events in 28 sports, The Olympic Games only continue to grow.
Previous Olympic Scandals
The world is not a perfect place, and the Olympic Games are no stranger to boycotts, protests and scandals. The 1956 Melbourne Olympics were the first Olympics to be boycotted. Countries including The Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland refused to participate because of the cruelty of the Hungarian Uprising by the Soviet Union. Additionally, because of the Suez Crisis, Cambodia, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon boycotted the games. In the heat of the Cold War, opposing countries boycotted each other’s games. Because of Soviet presence in Afghanistan, The Moscow Olympics in 1980 saw 65 nations pull out of its games. In 1984, the Soviet Union and 14 of its communist supporters boycotted the Los Angeles games, citing safety concerns for its athletes.
The 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin were used by the German Nazi Party to promote their political policies and demonstrate their anti-Semitism and racism. The country allowed only Aryan athletes to participate in the games, which is just a taste of what the world would encounter in the years following. In a case similar to the Beijing games, the city of Berlin attempted to fool the rest of the world by removing anti-Jew signs from stores in an attempt to mask their prejudice and “clean up” the city.
A political incident on a smaller scale but with resounding influence occurred at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, both black athletes from the United States, were the first and third place finishers in the 200-metter track and field race. During the National Anthem, both men performed the Black Power salute on the victory stand. Peter Norman, the second place finisher from Australia, famously supported his opponents by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge on the stand. In response, the United States Olympic Committee was forced to send its two athletes home by the IOC committee.
Sadly the Olympic Games are not immune to Terrorism. The 1972 Summer Games in Munich is the site of the worst tragedy in Olympic history. Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by the terrorist group Black September in what is now known as the Munich massacre. Nine of the deaths were a result of a liberation attempt by police. The five terrorists were also killed, along with a German police officer. Terrorism was also seen at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. A bomb was detonated at the Centennial Olympic Park, which killed two and injured 111 others. The bomb was set by Eric Robert Rudolph, an American domestic terrorist.
Process of hosting Olympics
ABC News article -
Hosting the Olympics is a huge honor, one that takes years to secure. A new two-phase host city election procedure was adopted in December 1999 by the 110th IOC session for the selection of the 2008 host city. The initial selection phase was based on technical requirements and was completed by a team of experts. The cities in the running after the first phase for the 2008 games were: Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Havana, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Osaka, Paris, Seville, and Toronto. Once approved by the Executive Board of the IOC, the cities became official Candidate Cities and were authorized to go forward into the full bid process. On August 28, 2000, the IOC Executive Board announced the five Candidate Cities for 2008: Osaka, Paris, Toronto, Beijing, and Istanbul. After being announced, each of the five cities were visited by the IOC Evaluation Commission. The Evaluation Commission inspected the sites of the games and submitted their reports two months before the host city was announced.
Beijing Planning Process
Beijing was elected as the host city for the XXIX Olympic Games on July 13, 2001. They defeated four other cities in the final round of competition including Toronto, Paris, Osaka and Istanbul. With hosting duties came seven years of preparation, including a huge amount of renovations that needed to take place in the city. Partnerships and sponsorships were secured early on to help with the planning and execution of the Games. By 2004 the Olympic Committee in Beijing had secured partnerships with seven five-star hotels to provide accommodations during the games, signed the Bank of China as the official banking partner of the games, and created the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co. to ensure successful broadcasting of the games to fans around the world. Volkswagen Group signed on as the official automobile partner, GE and Autos Origin became Worldwide Official Partners, and numerous sponsorships were secured with companies around the world.
To market the games, the city introduced the world to the 2008 Summer Olympics emblem, known as Dancing Beijing. The emblem combines a traditional Chinese red seal and a representation of the calligraphic character Jing with athletic features. The slogan was "One World, One Dream" and the mascots were the five Fuwa, each representing both a color of the Olympic rings and a symbol of Chinese culture.
Dozens of arenas were erected and the transportation systems were completely revamped. Thirty-one Olympic structures were built in all, including the Beijing National Stadium, Beijing National Indoor Stadium, Beijing National Aquatics Center, Olympic Green Convention Center, Olympic Green, and Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center. The Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed The Birds nest, is perhaps the most famous structure of all, having been the site of the opening and closing ceremonies.
In preparing for the massive amounts of people who would be attending the Games, the city of Beijing added the new Terminal 3 to its airport which helped it become the world’s largest. The Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Rail was built to shuttle people back and forth between cities on the world’s fastest scheduled train service. Inside the city, Beijing doubled its subway system in capacity and size by adding seven more lines and 80 additional stations. Thousands of buses, minibuses and official cars were brought in to transport people between venues. Overall, the Beijing Olympics Games became the most expensive in history, with the city spending over 42 billion dollars.
2008 Beijing Olympics
For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, security was going to be a main issue with all of the issues surrounding the country. As a result, there was a big security increase for the Olympics, as each personnel were trained to counter multiple scenarios of terror attacks. To provide the top of the line security for the games, Anti-aircraft missiles were installed in all Olympic stations in Beijing as well as having 110,000 mobile police, 1.4 million security volunteers, and 300,000 surveillance volunteers. Of course, security does not come cheap, either. The security bill for Beijing was an estimated three billion dollars. For cities outside of Beijing that were hosting Olympic events, there was an estimated 34,000 troops, 74 military aircraft, 48 helicopters, and 33 naval vessels that were all placed on high alert.
Prior to the Olympics, officials anticipated over two million tourists, with one third of them being from overseas. However, due to the Tibetan unrest, the torch relay protests, and an earthquake, the actual volume of visitors fell 9.2 percent than expected.
Many hotel owners invested in a big way for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Many anticipated their hotels to be sold out with room prices jumping through the roof. However, due to an increase in security for visa rules and requirements, it was hard for people to visit Beijing.
According to the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, the 6.8 million tickets to the Games were sold out. However, if you watched the Olympics on TV, there were many empty seats available for many of the events. Because of this, many journalists took shots at the committee about the suspicious claims that all tickets were sold out. It eventually came out to the public that most of the tickets were corporate sponsors that refused to make it to the games due to scheduling difficulties, conflict of interest, and many other reasons. On top of that, besides the 2.7 million tickets that were given to the corporate sponsors, many people didn’t realize that there was no re-entry policy for the events. If you left to go back to your hotel or get something to eat, you would not be allowed to get back into the respected stadium or arena you were in. Another thing that angered many athletes of different countries was that the majority of the tickets that were sold were given to the Chinese, which caused a ton of controversy to those who wanted more representatives of their respected country.
Even though all of the tickets were allegedly sold out, more than six million dollars in tickets were sold by a fake online ticket broker.
Mass displacement
Due to the construction of the venues for the 2008 Olympics, over 300,000 Beijing residence were displaced and evicted in preparation for the games and whoever decided to protest the forced evictions would arrested. However, China’s Foreign Ministry and the Beijing Olympic organizing committee said that only 15,000 residents from 6,037 households were displaced. In the end, it left thousands and thousands of people homeless due to get ready for the Olympic Games. The most peculiar thing about this is the fact that they evicted the poor class of Beijing residents and nobody else. Many people believe that China did this to make them look good for the Olympic Games and not look horrible as a city for housing so many slums.
Correct English and etiquette
For the Olympics, The Beijing government issued new requirements for its police officers by demanding them to act more professionally for the Olympics. They told the officers to stay clear from using profanity, being arrogant, and hanging up on people who call to report crimes.
Also, the government issued a drive to improve the English translations on advertisements in China. Due to the poor translation for those who speak English, China wanted to be more welcoming to its incoming tourists by improving the translations of their signs in the city.
Boycotting has been a popular issue for many countries over the years of the Olympics. This year was no exception. Those who decided to boycott the games include many prominent people outside of the athletes. Steven Spielberg, who was the artistic advisor for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, stepped down from his role because he protested the Chinese and their refusal to pressure Sudan to stop the criminal activity in Darfur. He went on by saying that there is human suffering in the region and that China needs to stop these crimes against humanity. Due to the activity in Darfur as well as the forced relocation of 300,000 Chinese people to make room for the games, 106 lawmakers in the United States started a letter calling for the United States to boycott the Olympic Games.
Other popular political figures across the world boycotted the Games as well. The Japanese government announced that its royal family would not be there because of the violence in Tibet. France President Nicolas Sarkozy was also in favor of boycotting as well.
Terrorist incident
On April 10, 2008, China announced that it foiled a plot against the Olympic Games. According to the Chinese security ministry, separatists planned suicide bomb attacks on Chinese cities to disrupt the Olympics. On April 25, Interpol released a warning saying that there was a real possibility that the Beijing Olympics would be targeted by terrorists.
When the Olympic Torch is being carried around the world getting ready for the Olympics, security always has to deal with protesters attempting to stop the relay or taking the torch. It has been a problem for many Olympics and is one that requires a ton of security, for the Olympic Torch symbolizes what the Olympic Games is all about. For the Beijing Olympics, protestors from Tibet tried to take the Olympic Torch towards the end of the relay before it reached Beijing.
"Racist" advertisement in Spain
Prior to the start of the Games, the Spain Men's and Women's Basketball teams were featured in ads that appeared in the Spanish newspapers. The team was getting a group picture taken on a basketball court when the entire team decided to use their hands and pull back the skin on their eyes, making them look like they are Chinese. Many Chinese papers as well as others across the world and even the IOC called it completely racist and inappropriate. However, the players on the team said that it was by no means trying to come off as racist.
Environmental and health issues
Environmental and health issues have been a plaguing issue concerning Beijing and China itself. The haze and smog that has surrounded the city has polluted the air of China. During its bid for the Olympic Games, China wanted to clean up its air to give the athletes clean air for their participation. Included are more issues involving the environment that affected the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The United States Olympic Committee, due to their concern with the safety of food products that are produced in China, brought their own food to the Olympic Games through imports. The athletes were concerned that the meat that was raised in China could contain steroids to cause the athletes to test positive for their drug tests. The leader of the food services for the Beijing Olympics was very disappointed with the action of the Americans.
Like mentioned before, the quality of the air in Beijing and other areas of China was a chief concern for the athletes. Even though Beijing committed to lowering their air pollution, the pollution drifted over to neighboring provinces, causing the toxic air to flow into neighboring areas and affecting many millions of people. In order to get rid of the pollution in Beijing, they removed over 60,000 taxis and buses from the roads by the end of 2007 and relocated 200 local factories before the Olympics started. This caused many Beijing residents to relocate to different areas to live with no jobs due to the relocation. In order to be safe with the air pollution in Beijing, many countries and their athletes would arrive at the games as late as possible to limit them from the exposure of the polluted air in the area. They would also set up offshore training camps in Japan and South Korea to avoid the pollution. Also, other athletes, including major ones from different countries, decided not to compete in the games due to the pollution.
In July of 2008, Beijing officials introduced stricter pollution controls, including the suspension of more factories and power plants, lowering the number of cars, and intensifying driving restrictions, which included only driving on alternate days, and depending on whether the last number on their license plate was odd or even. As a result of these restrictions, traffic was reduced by two million vehicles.
Opening ceremony
It also turned out that there was a major controversy during the Opening ceremony. China faked part of the ceremony when nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was singing “Ode to the Motherland”. However, it turns out that she was just a visual effect, as the real person behind the singing, Yang Peiyi was originally supposed to sing the song live. However, according to the ceremony’s chief musical director Chen Qigang, the more photogenic Lin took her place on stage because a senior Politburo member objected to Yang’s crooked teeth. He then went on by saying that Peyi is a magnificent singer who doesn’t deserve to be hidden.
Also during the opening ceremony, one segment of the fireworks show displayed fake fireworks. During the one part when 29 footprints wandered into the Bird’s Nest (China’s Olympic Stadium), it turned out that they were simulated by computer animation due to the hazy conditions in Beijing. The reaction from the media was extremely negative.
Participants' issues
A number of sportsmen were criticized for their behavior at the games:
• The Chinese Men's Soccer team was severely criticized by the media for poor sportsmanship
• Iranian Swimmer Mohammad Alirezaei pulled out of a swimming meet during the Olympics under the orders from officials of the Iranian delegation for political reasons.
• A Swedish wrestler rejected his bronze medal in 84kg Greco-Roman wrestling in protest over the judging of a semifinal match.
• Cuban taekwondo athlete Angel Valodia Matos kicked a referee in the face after being disqualified. His coach further accused the referee of taking bribes from Kazakhstan. Matos' records at the Beijing Games were erased, and he and his coach were banned from all future taekwondo events.
• Chinese taekwondo judges were accused of throwing games to benefit the Chinese taekwondo team.
State training and expectations of Chinese athletes
Since China was the host country, it put a ton of pressure on the Chinese athletes competing in the games. For example, Liu Xiang, the defending Olympic champion in the 110 meter hurdles, pulled out of competition in the 2008 Olympics. After winning China’s first gold medal in track and field, he is considered one of the biggest athletes in China. After bowing out of the games, he disappointed his millions of fans and faced harsh criticism for just quitting. It is possible that due to the immense pressure, he was afraid to lose, and that the pressure just worn him out. In his mind, his fans expected him to win the gold medal and nothing less. As a result, he might have felt afraid that if he received anything less than a gold medal, he will be remembered as a failure.
Also, there has been much criticism for the training regime of the Chinese. Considered to be just as harsh as the former Soviet Union, the Chinese government received tremendous amounts of negative attention throughout the world for their training style. If you were Chinese and wanted to be in the Olympics, these young athletes have to sacrifice living with their families at such a young age in order to endure and sustain the tough training that the Chinese instill in these kids. These kids train in certain “sports schools” or what they like to call state academies, where thousands of children give up getting an education to just focus on the sport of their skill. In the end, if a career in sports doesn’t turn out for these kids, they are now forced out into the real world with no education and the fact that they haven’t seen their actual family in many years. However, if a career turns out to be very successful, the Chinese will pay them performance bonuses that equal to ten times more money that a normal family makes per year.
“Zero Tolerance for Doping” was the official slogan for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Out of the 4,500 athletes at the games, six of them were caught with doping. Although it was a significant decrease since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, doping experts express concern however due to the advanced technology to stop doping in today’s society of sports.
Human rights
On July 23, It was announced that the Public Security Bureau would issue permits for protesting in protest zones during the Olympics. The three designated locations were Purple Bamboo Park, Temple Of The Sun, and World Park. However, people who requested a permit for protest did not get them for many different reasons, including disturbing the social order of Beijing. 77 people applied to get a permit. Out of those 77, 74 were withdrawn, two suspended and one vetoed. The protesters were eventually wrongfully discouraged to apply for the Chinese government wouldn’t even allow you to do so.
Web and media censorship
China promised in its Olympic bid that it would allow open media access during the games, but it didn’t turn out that way. 20,000 journalists were given sub-par internet access to do their work. On top of that, many reporting sites were blocked from their access because China didn’t want anything controversial being said or reported in which it would give China a bad name. In late July, the Beijing Organizing Committee announced that they would allow only “convenient” access, which still blocked sites that included controversial content about the Olympic Games in Beijing. Beijing authorities also didn’t want live broadcasts of locations such as Tiananmen Square because they didn’t want to show all the protests going on in China.
According to Business Week, at least 50 Beijing human-rights activists were either arrested, put under house arrest, or banished from the city during the Olympics. Reasons why these activists were arrested include criticizing China’s hosting of the Olympics by comparing it to Nazi Germany.
The reaction from the IOC and international media outlets has been positive. Even through all the controversy, the IOC did a great job covering it up with riveting stories such as Michael Phelps’s quest for 8 gold medals. On a public relations standpoint, they always seemed to put a positive spin on what was going on during the Olympics and making sure that nothing controversial will get in the way of the Olympic Games.
On a short-term basis, you can say that the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing have been a success. There were no protests on a medal podium, no terrorist attacks, and the best weather and air quality in over ten years. With recent tragic activity in previous Olympic Games such as the bombing at Atlanta during the 1996 games, this is considered to be a huge victory for the IOC and the City of Beijing. Even with all of the tension going on with Tibet, the altercations during the Olympic Torch relay, and allegations of boycotting the games, China came away as big winners with this years Olympics.
However, many people who live in China have been affected negatively during the Games. Thousands of people are now homeless. Thousands of people now are unemployed. As a result, millions of people now have a skewed view of what China is really like. Elyse Adams, a senior at Penn State, traveled to China this past summer to do research and service work with a professor. She traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and many other areas of China and came back shocked with how many people’s lives have changed for the worse because of the Olympics. According to Adams, “You have people whose homes are being burned down just for a spectacle for two weeks. It’s unreal how China cares more about what their reputation is going to be like from an international standpoint that they would do anything to make them look good and cover up anything that makes them look worse. It is unfair to the poor families in Beijing who now have to find a new job and a new home.”
It is unclear what the reaction is going to be like in the long-run, but so far it looks good for the city of Beijing. Many people within the country garnered a good amount of national pride as the lasting effect of the Olympic Games will view Beijing as a city on the rise.
While the country of China and the city of Beijing found international respect this year by hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics, they also lost a good amount of integrity with the people of their nation. While the country was too busy trying to present a good image for the rest of the world, their own citizens were struggling, and the Chinese didn’t help matters. Instead, they covered up run down buildings, burned the slums in the outskirts of the city, and reduced the air pollution and population by getting rid of factories and enforcing stricter driving laws during the Olympics. While the world was watching Michael Phelps becoming the new Olympic hero, more than 300,000 people had to change their lives by finding a place to live and getting a new job.
In the end, there have been much worse scandals and controversies in past Olympic Games that have been far worse than anything that has happened in this year’s games, but in conclusion, there will always be controversy surrounding the Olympics. Whether it’s political issues, racism, the environment, human rights, or other issues, something will cause a stir before each Olympic Games. Overall, while China had their share of problems before, during, and after the Olympics, in our opinion they did a decent job covering up the problems China was facing and gave society something to cheer about for two weeks that only comes around every four years.