“That little spot where you could taste chocolate fondue on Granville Island was a well-oiled marketing tool of the Swiss government.” citycaucus.com
The official Swiss guest house at the 2010 Olympic Games in Canada was designed and operated as a public-private partnership in the form of two houses at the two competition venues of Vancouver and Whistler, under the project management of Presence Switzerland.
Both houses functioned as meeting places for the Swiss Olympic team and they were also used in cooperation with the Confederation, the project partners and Swiss Olympic for receptions, tending to customers, media conferences and medal celebrations. For the first time ever, Swiss television integrated its anchor studio in the concept of the House of Switzerland.
The two houses were run both in English (as the “House of Switzerland”) and in French (as the “Maison de la Suisse”) with the two languages accorded equal standing. Switzerland’s presentation at the Olympic Games in Canada was much appreciated as a contribution to enlivening the accompanying programme for the games and proved to be particularly popular with the local public.
This is reflected, inter alia, in the large number of visitors and the extraordinarily extensive and positive media reporting in both the classical and new media.
The 21st Winter Olympic Games were held from 12 to 28 February 2010 in Vancouver, the biggest city in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Various competitions were staged in the winter-sports resort of Whistler and in the suburbs of Richmond and West Vancouver.
In addition, two Olympic villages were created – one in False Creek in Vancouver and one in Whistler. Winter 2010 was the third time that Canada had hosted the Olympic Games, following the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary. More than 6,000 athletes from 82 nations compete in 15 sports disciplines.
Switzerland had 146 athletes representing it in Canada. It was the biggest Swiss delegation ever to take part in the Winter Olympic Games.
Given Switzerland’s good medal chances at both competition venues, the project management of Presence Switzerland decided in the context of the overall concept to operate one House of Switzerland in Vancouver and another one in Whistler. Binding contracts were concluded with the popular “Bridges” excursion restaurant on Granville Island in Vancouver and the highly regarded, centrally located “Mountain Club” in Whistler.
With the motto “Two houses, one country – Switzerland at its best“, the guests were offered a varied programme of activities as well as the opportunity to celebrate the successes of the medal-winning Swiss athletes and to follow live the games on die big screens. For the first time ever, SRG SSR idée suisse set up its anchor studio in the Swiss guest house in Vancouver and transmitted the games directly from there to Switzerland.
Both of Switzerland’s official guest houses in Canada additionally acknowledged the importance of the French language in the host country and in Switzerland through their bilingual names of House of Switzerland and Maison de la Suisse.
The Houses of Switzerland in Vancouver and Whistler were the backdrops for any number of highlights during the period 5 – 28 February 2010. The games in Canada turned out to be “golden games” for Switzerland. With six gold medals, the Swiss delegation achieved more victories at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games than ever before at a Winter Games. In addition to these, the Swiss athletes won three bronze medals and 18 diplomas.
A number of tastings were offered with the collaboration of various partners which caught the attention of the media and the interest of a large public. Among them were Ricola Day, Biscuit Day, Globi Day, Lindt Chocolate Tasting, Nespresso Tasting and Raclette Tasting.
Among the high points of the event were the opening of the two houses on 5 and 6 February with 200 guests and thousands of visitors; the reception in Vancouver on 11 February and in Whistler on 13 February by the President of the Confederation, Doris Leuthard; the Swiss Valentine’s Day with a large-scale chocolate competition on 14 February; and the Charity Auction which raised 10,000 Canadian dollars for a charity organisation for homeless people in Vancouver.
Opening period: 5 – 28 February 2010, total 24 days
More than 60,000 consuming guests (of which 90% were Canadians)
717 articles appeared in the Canadian print and online media
In addition, there were 320 television and radio reports, including several reports by US stations.
Between October 2009 and March 2010, the House of Switzerland Twitter account published 467 tweets and registered 498 followers. These included Canada’s five most important bloggers. The House of Switzerland’s Facebook account had 1700 fans who actively participated.
130 media reports were published on the House of Switzerland in the Swiss Media
Presence Switzerland with overall responsibility: in charge of project management and overall coordination, including marketing and communication.
Embassy and Consulate General: The other partners included the Swiss Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Vancouver, with whom Presence Switzerland worked together closely. This enabled Presence Switzerland to appear before the corresponding local organisations with the appropriate weight and also to use political channels where necessary.
Presenting Partner: As the principal sponsor, the St. Moritz Engadin region supplied visual and substantive elements for decorating the houses and for communication.
Official Broadcasting Partner: SRG SSR idée suisse took on responsibility for the design, construction and operation of the television anchor studio in Vancouver and the broadcasting studio in Whistler. It was the first time that Swiss television’s anchor studio had been integrated in the House of Switzerland.
Official Partners: Swiss Olympic was responsible for the Swiss team’s medal celebrations and media conferences in the House. Switzerland Tourism took charge of coordinating the content of Switzerland as a tourist destination.
Partners: Cheeses from Switzerland/Fromages de Suisse and Lindt secured the exclusive product presence for their particular sectors as well as product-specific communication contents and events in both houses.
Suppliers: DB Schenker, Globi publishing house, Heidiskis, Hug Biscuits, Künzli Schuhe, Nespresso, Osec, Panasonic, Pure Swiss Water, Rivella, Securitas, Swiss, Uniplan and Zimtstern were present with their products and/or services and supplied communication contents relative to events and activities.