Illinois Wants to Be Your Midwestern Weekend Getaway

By Minda Smiley Comment

Another day, another tourism campaign. Today we bring you one from Illinois, which was dreamed up by the folks at none other than hometown agency OKRP. The Chicago-based shop was named agency of record for the account a few months back.

As far as tourism campaigns go, it’s pretty much standard fare. Basically every Chicago tourist trap makes an appearance, as well as the city’s signature hot dog (though it is shockingly void of deep-dish).

Other spots show off what the rest of Illinois has to offer, like its … nature. And landmarks. And state parks.

One thing the campaign does well is point out specific attractions people can visit that seem at least somewhat out of the ordinary; for instance, one video is dedicated to showing the many unique ways one can spend time in the small town of Galena (think goat yoga and hot air balloon rides). But even so, the campaign doesn’t do much in the way of establishing any sort of distinct voice or attitude for the people of Illinois.

Each ad ends with the following pronouncement: “Amazing isn’t just a place you take yourself. It’s where that place takes you.” Deep, Illinois. 

According to OKRP, the campaign–which includes user-generated content–will run on TV, online, out-of-home, print and social in markets including St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

It might seem like a pretty generic attempt to brand the Midwestern state, but turns out, that’s apparently what the Illinois tourism board wanted. When OKRP first won the account, Erin Guthrie, acting director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said that the Land of Lincoln “cannot rest on thinking people are already aware of the many great things to see and experience in the state. We need to let people know what Illinois has to offer.”

So there you have it. As for us, we prefer Nebraska’s self-deprecating slogan: “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.”