City of Boston
In 2020, the City of Boston drew down $2.5M of CARES Act Federal relief funding to launch a marketing campaign to market the city to Black and Brown residents and visitors.
The campaign’s goals were to “build Boston’s brand as a travel destination, increase awareness and active promotion, and drive visits to Boston from diverse local and regional visitors.“ It was part of the city’s strategy to build back a stronger and more equitable economy.
In particular, the campaign sought to “examine the ways in which Boston communicates about the offerings of the city, and highlight attractions and events that speak to the experiences of people of color.”
The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau selected two award-winning agencies with deep roots in the city. One was Boston’s oldest, minorityowned and operated marketing communications agency. The other was a Boston-based, minority owned, award-winning creative branding, design,
and advertising agency.
They soon discovered that the city had allowed others to create a narrative of Boston as an all white, masculine, sports- and alcohol- dominated city. Visitors and some residents had low awareness of the city’s vibrant Black neighborhoods, and the contributions of Black and Brown residents to the city.
The campaign featured different Boston neighborhoods with neighborhood maps and guides and short-form videos, as well as social media influencers from some of the city’s oldest Black neighborhoods. It also celebrated Black and Brownowned businesses in local and national media, in order to drive local spend.
Like many campaigns during the pandemic, its primary audience was local residents. However, as travel becomes safer, the city plans to continue its efforts to encourage a wider audience to change their perceptions and, ultimately, actions.