When In the Windy City, Do as the Chicagoans Do.

There is something to be said for Chicago natives. For as much as we hate the city sometimes, we love it twice as much.

Saying where you’re from comes with a sense of dignity unique to the Windy City. Your El stop is a badge of honor. The Sears Tower will always be the Sears Tower and Comiskey will never be called “The Cell.” We laugh when people get confused over the concept of neighborhoods, and pride ourselves even more on the one we call home. We stay away from Navy Pier like the plague and will never be caught dead taking reflection pictures with the Bean—again.

To natives, Chicago is more than a city. It’s home.

Advertising agencies seem to forget the strength of this connection when marketing to local consumers. Chicago culture breathes into every alley and one-way street. We just need to put a little effort into finding it.

By making our brands a part of Chicago (rather than Chicago a part in our brands,) we can enrich product image with the same loyalties locals feel for their beloved city. Simple changes to creative campaigns stand as the difference between a commuter zoning into their Facebook feed, or taking an extra second to glance at your ad on a Michigan Avenue bus shelter.

Look at Allstate insurance. Everyone in advertising knows the Mayhem campaign. What makes the campaign even more brilliant? Their use of Chicago culture tied into their message. Radio spots mention major expressways by name, billboards placed by Comiskey highlight game day traffic. All of these are simple and effective ways to make the difference between ignored and intrigued.

Another take on Chicago-fied communications reveals a bus shelter advertisement for McDonalds with hockey stick shaped French Fries.

The kicker? Go Blackhawks.

Simple and effective, the ad highlights the Stanley Cup Championship team while simultaneously promoting a McDonald’s classic.  The only thing Chicagoans are currently crazier about than their city are their hometown heroes. This ad kills two birds with one stone.

Trends in advertising come and go. Chicagoans love for their city will never leave. Make the most of it.


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