Chicago's 'brand' gets a makeover

December 8, 2011

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(WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)
This is the first tourist campaign the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has with coordinated print, web and TV ads.

Chicago previewed the city's new branding campaign on Thursday, designed to attract tourists. Enough with the "Second City," the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau wants everyone to know this town is "second to none."

"We're shedding that humility, but we're going to do it in a respectful way so that it is not cocky or arrogant, but confident and bold and fearless," said Warren Wilkinson, the senior vice president at the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.

He said his office is spending $1.8 million on the campaign to boost a tourism slump, with part of the money going to Chicago's first ever TV spots. Wilkinson said the new ads depicting people getting ready to hit the town are geared toward women because "they make the travel buying decisions."

The branding campaign kicks off in January in major midwest cities including Detroit, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Indianapolis. Wilkinson hopes potential tourists within easy driving distance will start seeing Chicago as a great weekend destination. The ads may expand to have a national and international presence, but for now the focus is regional.