Unprecedented Advertising and Media Relations Campaign Encourages Leisure Travel to Chicago During Winter Months

January 11, 2012 - CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) CEO Don Welsh announced the launch of the City's regional advertising campaign, a key component of the first true branding effort highlighting the City of Chicago as a visitor destination. The unprecedented campaign, which was launched this week, incorporates television commercials, digital advertising and proactive media relations to encourage travel to Chicago during the winter months, with a goal to significantly increase the number of visitors to Chicago, which will result in new spending and increased tax revenues for the City.

"These are terrific advertisements for Chicago, that will generate new revenues for the city and its businesses," said Mayor Emanuel. "Leisure visitors to Chicago provide immediate value for Chicago and we look forward to welcoming them to the greatest city in the world."

The $1.8 million campaign consists of ads and other efforts for the winter months targeted at females between the ages 35 to 54, those who primarily make travel decisions and who live within a day's drive of Chicago.  The five key regional markets include Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Chicago's first-ever television commercials supported by a digital campaign and media relations launched this week and will run through early March.  The winter campaign will appear during prime time programming on network and cable stations in the regional markets, as well as during marquee sporting and entertainment events, including the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards and the National Football League's AFC and NFC Championship games.

The economic benefits of a healthy tourism industry are vast.  Chicago's visitor industry is directly responsible for 124,000 jobs, $11.1 billion in direct spending and $616 million in tax revenues.

"Chicago is clearly among the premier visitor destinations in the world," said Don Welsh, CCTB president and CEO.  "We are taking aggressive steps towards harnessing the city's marquee assets into impactful tourism spending in Chicago.  We are laser-focused on the goal and that is to increase the number of visitors to Chicago, which in turn will drive additional tax revenue for the City."

The regional campaign features a cooperative effort with the support and investment of five of the city's core institutions and attractions, including Broadway in Chicago; The Field Museum; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago; Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium. Together, this cooperative led by the CCTB has raised more than $500,000 to expand the new Chicago advertising campaign.

Industry leaders overwhelmingly support the new campaign and are anticipating a measurable increase in business. 

"Chicago provides unparalleled cultural and entertainment options through every season, and this dynamic campaign will inspire the public to take notice and advantage of all we have to offer during the winter months," said David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry and CCTB board member.

"The Bureau has created an exceptional campaign that exemplifies a bold and confident tone required to leverage Chicago's leadership position in a wide range of areas, including dining, hotels, theater, shopping and cultural attractions," said Lou Raizin, President, Broadway in Chicago and CCTB board member.
Laurence Geller, CEO, Strategic Hotels and Resorts and CCTB board member stated, "It's Chicago's time to take a bold step forward and share what this magnificent destination offers.  The increase in visitors to Chicago will most definitely help in our city's overall economic development efforts."

A new expanded editorial, stronger social media integration and improved visitor experiential content, as well as significantly improved search engine optimization (SEO)-will be featured as the call-to-action throughout all components of the campaign. 

The CCTB will report on the campaign's advertising effectiveness in April, including what influenced the travel and a comprehensive economic impact analysis detailing visitor spend, and length of trip by market. 

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