Chicago tourism ads | What’s up with that?
In what places does the city spend its tourism dollars?
Seeing those Montana ads all over CTA buses and trains makes me interested to know where the city spends its tourism dollars. In what places are commuters subjected to posters promoting Chicago as a vacation destination?—K.F., Ukrainian Village
We’ll concede that those panoramic shots of Montana are pretty alluring. They’ve even prompted an unnecessarily defensive City of Big Shoulders versus Big Sky Country nature-photo contest initiated by Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman. But there aren’t any ads for Chicago in the Treasure State. In the U.S., Choose Chicago, the city’s newly renamed and restructured tourism and convention agency, advertises regionally—in Cincinnati, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. “It’s cost-prohibitive to buy national,” says Warren Wilkinson, Choose Chicago’s chief marketing officer.
Unlike Montana’s pitch or the Great Lakes State’s “Pure Michigan,” Chicago’s regionally targeted campaigns highlight the city’s dining and cultural attractions and incorporate the cringeworthy slogan “Second to None.” The ads aren’t on billboards or public transportation; they’re only seen online and on TV. Wilkinson says those formats make the audience “much easier to be measured.” Choose Chicago is spending $1.3 million on its summer campaign, and to further ramp up tourism, the city is opening three international offices July 1, in Brussels, São Paulo and Tokyo, having already established offices in Beijing, London, Mexico City, Shanghai and Toronto.
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