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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Don Welsh, President and CEO of Choose Chicago, today announced the launch of Chicago Epic, Chicago’s first national tourism destination marketing campaign, marking a new chapter in the way Chicago promotes the city to potential visitors outside of the Midwest.
The new $2.2 million leisure multi-media campaign, called Chicago Epic, developed in collaboration with Chicago-based agencies FCB and Starcom USA, will run through August 31, 2015. For the first time, Choose Chicago will expand its media buy beyond its core Midwest markets and into Denver and San Francisco. The campaign includes cable TV, online video, digital display, social, paid search and content marketing. View the Chicago Epic “anthem” video.
“Chicago’s greatest assets are our vibrant neighborhoods. This new advertising campaign captures the epic and unique spirit of our diverse communities and their world renowned cultural and culinary offerings,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago has seen record tourism growth in the last four years – and tens of thousands of good-paying jobs that come with it. Chicago Epic will help us to continue growing this critical sector of our economy.”
Chicago Epic will play a pivotal role in reaching Mayor Emanuel’s goal of increasing Chicago’s annual visitation to 55 million visitors by 2020, and fulfilling his vision for Chicago as a global cultural center.
“Chicago’s creative community came together to develop the first campaign that provides a narrative for the Chicago experience, said Welsh. “The word epic describes something large and impressive, something beyond the ordinary in size or scope, and stories about legendary events or adventures. All of which describe Chicago and how we do things.”
Over the course of nine months, Choose Chicago and its Board executive committee led by Board Chair, Desiree Rogers, engaged with the Executive Committee of the Chicago-based American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) who provided the necessary resources to implement a global quantitative traveler research project. Leo Burnett Chicago conducted the pro bono brand strategy work on behalf of the city of Chicago in tandem with Choose Chicago and the 4A's leadership. The results identified priority consumer segments, geographic marketing targets, and a compelling brand positioning for the city. This brand position was used as the strategic foundation for creative and media concepts throughout an eight-week agency review process. In April 2014, FCB and Starcom USA joined the Choose Chicago team.
Since this time, Choose Chicago has worked aggressively to build this fully integrated, multi-channel campaign to further support Mayor Emanuel’s efforts to grow annual visitation to Chicago.
“Chicago Epic is the culmination of years of research and evolution that have helped Chicago’s visitor industry grow at an exceptional pace,” said Welsh. “Never in my career have I seen the creative community come together so collaboratively and enthusiastically for a project. It’s a true testimony to Chicago’s character and the pride we each have in our city, which is what we aimed to capture in the new creative.”
Research conducted by Leo Burnett indicates that Denver and San Francisco present the greatest opportunity in which an advertising investment can influence perception and encourage travel to Chicago. This same research revealed that these markets represent expert travelers and city adventurers who spare no expense when it comes to leisure travel.
Starcom’s media approach is to accelerate how Choose Chicago reaches the right people at the right time and the right place – bringing to light the variety of amazing experiences anyone can have during a trip to Chicago. This has involved diving into the extensive research to understand who Chicago’s potential visitors are and how they plan their trips.
“This rich consumer understanding and the vast amounts of data available to us in this golden age of media has guided us in architecting a plan to bring to life Choose Chicago’s vanguard brand purpose of being reinventive, energizing, and inspiring,” said Desiree Rogers, Chair of Choose Chicago. “Chicago is an ideal city for urban explorers. This campaign aims to encourage visitors to choose their own adventure, with the guarantee that each visit will be different than the last.”
About the Campaign
The campaign creative, developed by FCB Chicago, highlights the epic experiences that Chicago offers, showcasing Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, award-winning restaurants, and vibrant nightlife and shopping.
“We were inspired by Daniel Burnham’s directive to ‘make no little plans,’” said Michael Fassnacht, CEO and President of FCB Chicago. “Chicago was built on that idea. We wanted this campaign to engage people in Chicago’s story – our shoreline, our skyline and the heart and soul that make Chicago unlike any other place on earth. That’s what epic is all about.”
Chicago Epic is a multifaceted brand campaign comprised of TV, online video, digital display, social, paid search and content marketing. The campaign includes three different video elements -- a 30-second spot for national cable TV; a 15-second spot for Online Video (OLV), and an 80-second "anthem" video. The “anthem” video is available here. Chicagoans and visitors alike are encouraged to get involved with the campaign on social media by sharing their own “epic” adventures with the hashtag, #ChicagoEpic.
Digital display, social and content marketing will promote Chicago’s global cultural offerings, including museums and theater, dining and nightlife, parks and beaches, music and comedy, sports and shopping as well as our diverse neighborhoods.
“The collaborative partnership between Choose Chicago, Starcom and FCB to bring this incredibly powerful campaign to market has been exciting from the start. Through the power of data, technology and content we will ensure that, more than ever, people from around the country will experience what our great city is truly all about,” said Lisa Donohue, President, Starcom USA.
The voiceover talent is Chicago’s very own Marc Kelly Smith, creator/founder of the international Poetry Slam movement.
For more information about Chicago Epic, visit ChooseChicago.com.
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