Selling Your City: The Promotional Videos of the Candidate Cities for the 2020 Olympic Games

Screenshot from the 2020 Olympics Tokyo promotional video

I finally took a look at the promotional videos made by the cities vying for the 2020 Summer Games: Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid.

In my mind, Istanbul and Madrid’s Olympic committees focused on the cities, and thus their videos felt like the tourism promotion videos you might see on CNN. My views aren’t too different from those on this Reddit thread.

The theme of the Istanbul is “Shine Bright Like a Diamond”, the lyrics from Rihanna’s song, Diamonds – the mosques in sun and shadow, the sparkling harbor waters, bustling markets, mixed in with image of infrastructure, high-end shopping, and a very occasional sports reference.

Madrid’s campaign video is more comprehensive in what it showed: high speed rail, modern cityscapes and traditional architecture, universities, greenery, music and dance, shopping and nightlife. And there was even a smattering of sports: amateurs playing golf, on bikes, skateboarding, playing basketball, runners.

Tokyo’s theme was “Discover Tomorrow”, thoroughly vague. But the images are clearly on athletes, dominated by competitors at the London Olympics, as well as amateur athletes in Japan, interspersed with iconic locales of Tokyo. You feel the intensity of the athletes and the emotions of the spectators, the animated winged-heart providing a thematic visual throughout the video.

I’m biased I know. But the Tokyo promotional video is the best of the three.

Screenshot from the Tokyo candidate city promotional video.