Pittsburgh: Pull up a chair. You are welcomed here

(BPT) – Feel welcome. See the beauty. Explore the culture. Pittsburgh truly has it all.

VisitPITTSBURGH launched a new national marketing campaign, and it is nothing like past campaigns from the destination marketing organization. Sure, the accompanying video and images have some of the beautiful iconic shots of the city’s skyline and neighborhoods, but this campaign is intended to promote something more than just the city’s stunning beauty. It highlights the welcoming spirit of the city and Pittsburghers.

Pull Up a Chair. You are Welcomed Here … is the name of the campaign, and it is built around the gesture of offering a visitor a chair, which is a universal sign of hospitality and respect. It also takes one step further the messaging of its public officials and residents who have long promoted that Pittsburgh is an inclusive and welcoming destination.

‘We hear it all the time from our visitors that our residents are so friendly and welcoming and that instead of just giving directions they will walk a visitor to the destination,” said Tom Loftus, chief marketing officer for VisitPITTSBURGH. ‘We hear the same comments from visiting journalists and tour operators, so we wanted to capture that inclusive spirit of our city in this campaign.”

Loftus said the goal of the campaign was also to break away from the typical tourism campaign and video components. ‘We, like other DMOs, have been successful at raising awareness of our cities with videos that showcase beautiful scenery, attractions that can only be found in your city, and all of the great accolades you have earned. For this campaign, however, I challenged my staff to not overthink what makes Pittsburgh different but to find it and then find a way to capture it. And we feel we did.’

The campaign will mostly be digital and will target the city’s drive and fly markets, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Tampa and New York City. It will also use public relations domestically and internationally and will be incorporated throughout its sales, sports development and marketing efforts. In addition, the campaign will include activations in some of the targeted cities as well as activations throughout the summer in the Pittsburgh region.

‘We want to get Pittsburghers throughout the world involved in spreading the message of the campaign,’ said Loftus. ‘They are our best ambassadors and it will give them a glimpse of what VisitPITTSBURGH does, since more than 98 percent of our marketing is done outside the region.’

Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, said the new campaign showcases the talents of the marketing staff. ‘I challenged them to become one of the best marketing departments in the country and they readily accepted that challenge,’ he said. ‘We don’t have an agency of record and I am proud to say that most of our creative is done in-house, including the creative for this campaign. I am really proud of the team.’

Loftus returns the compliment by saying that Davis has built a culture at VisitPITTSBURGH that encourages staff to think way outside the box and not be afraid to make mistakes.

‘Even with that encouragement, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t use a brand tag that had been used before. Pull Up a Chair – You Are Welcomed Here seemed so appropriate for this campaign that we thought some other city must have used it before,’ said Loftus. ‘But a trademark and copyright search proved otherwise, so we quickly applied to trademark it.’

VisitPITTSBURGH is encouraging its partners to get involved with the campaign by posting photos of iconic chairs at their attractions, and it will be doing the same with residents through some fun social media contests.

For more information about Pull Up a Chair. You are Welcomed Here! visit www.visitpittsburgh.com.

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