M&C set for Bethlehem 2000 project

M&C Saatchi is extending its involvement in the millennium celebrations with an assignment to turn Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace, into a magnet for international visitors from the year 2000.

M&C Saatchi is extending its involvement in the millennium

celebrations with an assignment to turn Bethlehem, Christ’s birthplace,

into a magnet for international visitors from the year 2000.



An expected dollars 30 million through-the-line budget - most of it

underwritten by the World Bank - will support the initiative to turn

tourism into a major source of revenue and employment for the

strife-torn Palestinian state.



The agency will work in tandem with Caribiner, the world’s largest

live-event company, which stage-managed last year’s Hong Kong handover

ceremony and will co-ordinate all activities taking place within the

Greenwich dome. Claydon Heeley, an M&C Saatchi-aligned company, will

handle all below-the-line activity.



The joint appointment was confirmed at the end of last week after a

meeting in Bethlehem between Dr Hanan Ashrawi, an aide to the

Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and head of the Bethlehem 2000

project; Bill Muirhead, an M&C Saatchi founding partner; Mike Lockett,

Caribiner’s European chairman; and Mal Hemmerling, a sponsorship

specialist involved in Formula One motor racing and the Sydney

Olympics.



Ashrawi has discussed Bethlehem’s plans with Jennie Page, the chief

executive of the New Millennium Experience Company, who has given her

approval to the involvement of M&C Saatchi and Caribiner. ’The British

do not have a monopoly in celebrating the millennium,’ she said.



The alliance will have the task of attracting six million visitors to

Bethlehem during the celebrations, which will run from December 1999 to

Easter 2001.