‘Epic’ campaign boosts Chicago tourism


Photo Courtesy of Phil Velasquez

Marketing manager Leslie Cooke, left, and Laura Collins, of Isabelli Media Relations, lean back on a new attraction called “Tilt” which has viewers stand against one of eight glass panels that tilt out and down on an angle from the observatory in Chicago, May 7, 2014. (Phil Velasquez Chicago Tribune/MCT)

By Metro Reporter

Chicago will be expecting more tourists within the next couple of months as the city launches a new tourism campaign titled “Chicago Epic.”

Choose Chicago, which brings regional, national and international business and leisure visitors to Chicago to promote the economic success of the city, announced the effort on April 13. The summer campaign is a $2.2 million initiative developed in collaboration with Chicago-based advertising agency FCB Chicago and the Chicago office of media-planning agency Starcom USA.

Any massive influx of promotion that can drive people to Chicago is going to benefit all of the cultural institutions in the city, said Bruce DuMont, founder, president and CEO of the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

“I would think that it would greatly increase tourism rates [and] traffic here at the museum,” DuMont said. “We are surrounded by 8,000 hotel rooms within three blocks. All of those people coming to Chicago will most likely be staying in those hotels.”

DuMont applauded Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his efforts to increase tourism rates in Chicago.

“This will be a phenomenal opportunity, I think, that Mayor Emanuel should be congratulated for being so aggressive in trying to sell the city both for its beauty and its cultural significance,” DuMont said. “The more people that come to Chicago, the more likely we feel that we will get them through the museum because of our central location.”

Randy Stancik, general manager at Skydeck Chicago, said he thinks the campaign will also increase tourism at the Skydeck.

“Many attractions can’t afford to do the national and international outreach the way a targeted campaign led by Choose Chicago can draw people from everywhere without us having to spend all of the resources that we have to spend,” Stancik said. “Collectively, it really sells the city as a whole versus all of us selling it individually. I think that’s smart because people come here for the experience of Chicago and there is no one better than Choose Chicago to tell them that.”

Stancik said that for every dollar invested in tourism, the city’s economy might get $7 or $8 back into the economy. He said tourist attractions must look at growth opportunities.

“It’s a great investment coming back into the city,” Stancik said. “It helps the city in general for jobs, memories, an attractive image and just a great experience for tourists.”

Nora Gainer, director of tourism marketing at the Art Institute of Chicago, said the campaign is achieving an energy and a draw that will be infectious for people both domestically and internationally.

“We need to get our brand and our product out to the world and compete with other destinations on a global level,” Gainer said. “We feel that there is a great energy. The ‘Epic’ campaign does a great job of articulating Chicago’s energy.”

Chicago is viewed as one of the largest tourist attractions in the U.S. but most still do not know it yet, DuMont said. Gainer said she thinks there are other reasons this campaign is beneficial.

“We always want more [tourism in Chicago],” Gainer said. “[At the Art Institute,] we’re constantly working with new partners, looking for opportunities, broadening our reach, extending our message and being as relevant as possible to so many people.”