Four teams line up for London Olympic brief

Four agency teams have been shortlisted to contest the task of galvanising public support for the bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London.

The creative and media pairings, all from COI Communications' roster, will be asked to present proposals on how best to communicate the benefits to the capital of hosting the sporting spectacular.

The shortlisted shops are M&C Saatchi and Unity, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners and Naked Communications, Leo Burnett and Manning Gottlieb OMD, and WCRS and PHD.

London 2012, the consortium which includes the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, the Greater London Authority and the British Olympic Association, will head the campaign to win public hearts and minds.

The initiative follows a recent survey claiming almost two-thirds of Britons back the bid, while almost a quarter oppose the application.

London is said to be running behind Paris, which remains the favourite of the nine cities vying to be chosen. The others cities are New York, Madrid, Leipzig, Moscow, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro and Havana.

The International Olympic Committee will not make its decision until July 2005. Meanwhile, Barbara Cassani, the London 2012 chairman, and Keith Mills, the chief executive and former London agency boss, are working to attract sponsorship for the bid, which is expected to cost about £20 million.

International advertising is not permitted until later in the bidding process. The immediate challenge is to build and maintain support within the UK for the bid.

David Magliano, the easyJet director of strategic marketing, who is heading London 2012's marketing drive, said: "As well as creating a powerful and distinctive vision for a London 2012 Olympic Games, the campaign will encourage public support by communicating the great benefits to London."