Oh joy

18 years ago, Leipzig applied for the 2012 Olympic Games alongside four other German cities. The decision on this intra-German competition was to be made during a big gala in Munich, where each city had the opportunity to present its bid in a short film.

The big favourite was Hamburg, which had brought out the big guns with star director Dieter Wedel and a huge budget. Leipzig didn’t have the money for big guns, but they had me as an advertising director specialising in tongue-in-cheek humour and a background in feature films. I knew that we only had a chance if we surprised the gala attendees with a film like they had never seen before.

Winner of the NOK presentation on 12 April 2003

Agency: abold – Büro für Marketingkommunikation GmbH

Production: Wolff Brothers, Bertram Wolff

That’s why I consistently focussed on emotions right from the start. Very big emotions. Leipzig’s Olympic bid begins with a Russian tank at Checkpoint Charlie, recalls the building of the Berlin Wall, the Monday demonstrations and the opening of the border and ends with a resounding “Ode to Joy”. The celebrities were on our side. The Hamburgers had Wedel, but we had Richard von Weizsäcker and Dietrich Genscher. Michael Ballack greeted us from Munich, Kati Witt from New York. Mayor Tiefensee unpacked his cello before the start of the film and played Bach’s cantata “Dona Nobis Pacem”, which had been sung at the start of the Monday demonstrations in the Nicolai Church, and star conductor Kurt Masur enthused about the “special spirit” of the people of Leipzig. It was “great cinema”, as Susanne Simon later enthused on ZDF’s “heute-journal” and the great cinema played its part in the Leipzigers winning the competition with waving flags and outdoing their major West German rivals.

A few weeks ago, the Sächsiche Zeitung recalled this. Since the article itself is behind a paywall, you can find it here in its entirety:

(Photo credit: Ronald Bonß)

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