Chicago Launches First Global Ad Campaign to Attract More Visitors

In an effort to attract more visitors to the Windy City, the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) has launched what it says is the city's "first true branding effort highlighting the City of Chicago as a global visitor destination," it announced this month.

"With marquee assets such as America's tallest building, outstanding restaurants, theaters, and museums, Chicago is clearly among the premier visitor destinations in the world," said Bruce Rauner, chairman of CCTB's board of directors. "As a result of the branding effort, we are taking an important step towards harnessing the city's many accolades and attractions into impactful tourism spending in Chicago."

According to Chicago tourism officials, Chicago's first official ad campaign casts aside the destination's reputation as the "Second City" with a new, more confident voice that boasts of the city's world-class dining, entertainment and cultural attributes. The result, CCTB suggests, will be new jobs, millions of dollars in local spending and increased tax revenues.

"Revenue stemming from leisure and convention travel plays a crucial role in ensuring that Chicago remains a strong, vibrant and global city," said CCTB President and CEO Don Welsh. "For the first time in our history, the City of Chicago has a unified, cohesive image and voice to enhance our marketing efforts, attract visitors and drive new tax revenue."

Various components of Chicago's new branding effort will engage regional, national and international audiences, the latter focusing on travelers in the United Kingdom, China, Canada and Mexico.

Nationally, the campaign will focus on face-to-face visits with key travel media, as well as print ads in leading meetings industry magazines, where CCTB will highlight recent historic labor agreements at the city's McCormick Place convention center. Regionally, meanwhile, CCTB will focus on markets within a day's drive of Chicago, including Cincinnati, Detroit, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and St. Louis. In those markets, the campaign will utilize $1.8 million worth of television and online advertising — including a new website, improved search engine optimization and Chicago's first-ever TV commercials, airing early January through early March 2012, then again from late May through mid August.

"Chicago is an international destination for both tourists and businesses, who come to enjoy our state-of-the-art facilities and unmatched assets," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I support all efforts to promote the city as a destination for the world, and look forward to working with the bureau and other partners so both residents and visitors can enjoy all our city has to offer."