Which 2020 Olympic Games Promotional Candidate Video Would Win Your Vote?

I wasn’t really paying attention to the bidding for the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games until the voting date. After finding out that Tokyo was among the shortlisted candidate cities, I started following the voting process on Twitter and other websites and ended up watching the webcast of the second round voting result/the announcement of the host city for the 2020 Olympic Games. That’s when I had a chance to watch the promotional candidate videos, and they caught my attention. Here are three 2020 Olympic Games promotional candidate videos for the shortlisted cities, Istanbul, Tokyo, and Madrid:

Olympic Games Promotional Candidate Video for Istanbul

Olympic Games Promotional Candidate Video for Tokyo

Olympic Games Promotional Candidate Video for Madrid

Istanbul’s video highlights its geographic trait as a port city while mingling the city’s traditional elements and modern essence. As a tourism promotional video, it would likely stimulate viewers’ curiosity about the city, but the video completely failed to make any connection to athleticism and sports. It shows a jogger early in the video and people playing basketball later, but does not effectively involve them in its narrative development. Besides, why did they use Rhianna’s “Diamond” as the background music? It was a little mystery. Instead of promoting the elegant lifestyle possibilities in the port city, Istanbul could, for example, emphasize its geographic location as a bridge between Asia and Europe and an ideal place for uniting all nations through the Olympics.

Compared to Istanbul’s “tourism promotion” style video, Tokyo’s promotional video focuses on the moment of excitement in sports: spectators cheering for athletes, athletes preparing for their matches, at the moment of performing their plays, and winning their games, and kids enjoying sports. The crescendo of its instrumental music toward the middle of the video also simulates such excitement. The video does show some of the tourist spots in Tokyo, but it mainly directs our attention to the players’ and spectators’ excitement built around the Olympic Games. The colourfully animated heart shapes that appear throughout the video not only provide a sense of national unity but also convey a message that Tokyo is the place to unite all nations through the Olympics Games. Showing children playing sports with a catch phrase, “Discover Tomorrow,” ends this video with the hope of bright future that comes through the Olympics in Tokyo. Although I have found the two shots of high school girl standing in the middle of Shibuya‘s scramble crossing a little odd, these two shots may be visually indicating accelerating heartbeats.

High School Girl at Shibuya Scramble Crossing 1 High School Girl at Shibuya Scramble Crossing 2

If Istanbul’s video focuses on tourism and Tokyo’s on athleticism, Madrid’s promotional video goes halfway between them, although it gives much more weight to tourism promotion. Three differently coloured light streams (yellow, pink, and blue) link various spots in the city by travelling through it, and also pass by a woman playing golf, a stadium, skateboarders, recreational cyclists and basketball players. While showing the scenes from San Silvestre Vallecana, a 10 km road race in Madrid, toward the end was effective, why did it not further build up the momentum of excitement coming from sports here? A few scenes of nightlife in Madrid completely flatten the sense of this excitement and closes the video like a tourism promotional video, mirroring that of Istanbul. The three light streams do illuminate various spots in Madrid, but does not clearly “Illuminate the future” as the video’s slogan goes.

San Silvestre Vallecana

Knowing the result of the host city election (and I may have a bias), but the promotional video produced by the Japanese Olympic Committee seems to reflect the spirit of sports and the Olympics most extensively and succeeds in evoking the sense of excitement of having the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.

I’m not sure if any of the major Japanese electronics companies, like Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp, and Sony, will be able to manufacture the futuristic handheld gadget that appears in the Tokyo’s promotional video, but I hope that we have better technology that allows us to experience the atmosphere of game sites more viscerally and to share our affective reaction to each moment of spectatorship.

Handheld Gadget 1 Handheld Gadget 2


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