it looks like we at 15 ideas have more questions than we have time to answer today, so I thought it best if we just hold an impromptu press conference now. if you’re a journalist, feel free to use any of the quotes below. ok, who has a question?
who can did for why if rio how a million front anony who?
look, this isn’t going to work if everyone talks at once. let’s see some hands. yes, you in the fedora?
why did you create chicagoans for rio?
we were initially supportive of chicago’s bid, and were (and are) confident chicago would host a great games. but while chicago does things well, it also does them consistently way over budget. as we saw the bid process unfold, we simply lost confidence this would be any different.
so we created a site to let our feelings (and the feelings of other chicagoans) be known – to add a moderate voice to the debate that says, all things considered, we’d just as soon let rio have the games, thank you. the site obviously tapped into an existing resentment about the bid among chicagoans. otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today at this standing-room-only press conference. you in the business casual?
what specifically made you lose confidence in chicago’s bid?
most damaging is the broken promise about putting residents on the hook financially, after being assured that wasn't going to be the case.
it's also hard to see the city council back the bid 49-0 and, in the same breath, read polls that show only 47% of chicagoans are for the bid while 45% are against it. our residents and elected officials aren’t in sync on the issue. not even close.
lastly, there's the hyperbole about the bid. the position seems to be, as the mayor of atlanta recently said, “there is no downside to hosting the games.” come now. there are lots of potential downsides, and if those downsides would’ve been openly acknowledged and discussed, a lot of people could’ve maybe been swayed to back the bid. they weren’t. ok, sobbing woman up front here?
i thought you loved chicago.
i do. it’s not like we put up a website proposing we drain lake michigan. we’re merely siding with the 45% of chicagoans who don’t support the bid. as I said just paragraphs ago, only 47% are for it. (and honestly, undecided 8%, what are you thinking?)
furthermore, I don’t believe chicago needs the olympics to showcase itself. we’re not an undiscovered gem like pre-1992 barcelona. last year, we had 45 million tourists. if some of the world still wants to view chicago as fly-over country, it’s their loss more than ours.
and if we really feel the need to show off the city, why not build our own stage rather than rent someone else's? surely, we have the talent and resources in this town to create something from scratch that could better capture the world's attention than just being the latest olympics host. next question, uh, big guy over there.
why did you try to stay anonymous, you pussy?
hey now, family blog here. let’s keep it clean. we launched anonymously to draw more attention to the site. while frustrating for some people, it was inarguably a successful strategy. we were under no delusion that we would stay anonymous. I’ve been wearing a Chicagoans For Rio t-shirt and sweatshirt for the last couple months, so we weren’t exactly hiding. and considering how often some of us drink, we were bound to catch a case of verbal diarrhea. seriously, we'd make awful spies.
a couple friends and i. hey, look outside! there’s a cardinal!
don’t try to distract us. are your “friends” from Brazil?
the only connection we have with brazil is, we once watched blame it on rio. we’d give it three stars.
what’s with the lack of capitalization?
we’re going through a kind of e.e. cummings period. ok, back to the topic. you in the garanimals, you have a question?
I’d heard you were actually working with chicago 2016. true?
"working with" is a bit of an exaggeration. over the last couple years, the bid committee reached out to many respected marketing minds in the city, and I was one of them. I put off the request to help for a while, fearing it would be a bit of a mess with so many muckity mucks involved and no one agency identified as a clear leader. because so many of my friends were involved, I finally succumbed earlier this year, went to two meetings, offered a few ideas, and found the process predictably unsatisfying. neither party has pursued any efforts to work together since.
security, get that guy out of here. hey, if mayor daley can go from criticizing the Olympics to being its #1 supporter in a year's time, surely a marketing guy should be allowed to change his mind too. yes, you in back with the Carmen Miranda fruit hat?
the people of Brazil wish to thank you for your support.
that’s very nice of you, Carmen. thank you for making the trip up north. you in the mock turtleneck?
what’s been the reaction of the site?
it's been strong and roughly 95% positive. just under a thousand people have submitted emails to the IOC, and two IOC offices sent responses that said, "we've been bombarded. you've made your point." and really, we haven't made our point - our fellow chicagoans have. it's nice they had a venue to do so. you there?
how has dealing with those of us in the media been?
frustrating for you that we remained anonymous, which I understand. if I ever commit murder, I’m guessing Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business will find the body first. (he was the first one to discover our authorship.) and if i ever need advice, i'm asking James Janega of the Chicago Tribune, because his is the best. (“Have a drink, then have another, think about it some more, and if you reconsider, email me and tell me everything you know.”) yes, you in the snuggie?
what if chicago wins?
like a good chicagoan, i’ll learn “the Bean is located two streets down and to the left” in a dozen different languages. another question, sobbing woman?
I just don’t understand. I thought you loved chicago.
being anti-games doesn’t mean being anti-chicago. on the contrary, it's my confidence in chicago's greatness that has me believing we shouldn't have to go groveling to the IOC to showcase it. remember, 45% of us would rather not host the games, so it's hardly a radical position to take. i give time and money to chicago non-profits and cultural institutions, and that will continue. and lots of companies (in Chicago and beyond) have benefited from me thinking about their business, and that will continue too. worst case scenario, I’ll launch that male plus size modeling career I’ve been training for. you in the orthodontic headgear?
what’s 15 ideas?
depending on the day, 15 ideas is either defined as a chicago-based creative consultancy, or a dumping ground for nefarious side projects and small client engagements. the latter seems to best apply today. ok, we have time for one more question. go ahead there, either of you siamese twins.
what’s next for chicagoans for rio and 15 ideas?
chicagoans for rio is a 1-page website, and that's the extent of it. if you are against the games and want to take a more active role, the No Games Chicago gang has a rally planned tomorrow night. as for 15 ideas, we’re launching another community project later this fall. I’m guessing it'll be less controversial than our last one. just a guess. we were also planning a threat to move the headquarters of 15 ideas out of chicago and into the suburbs unless the city gave us tax incentives like they did for Boeing, but I think we’ll scotch that plan for now.
we hope that helped. thank you for coming, everyone. please, single file on the way out. ok, thank you. thanks.