'All-Inclusive' campaign seeks to broaden Boston's image

Boston’s acting Mayor Kim Janey announced the All-Inclusive Boston campaign during a press conference at Hiberian Hall in Roxbury on Monday. Mayor's Office Photo by Jeremiah Robinson

All-Inclusive Boston, a $2 million marketing campaign aimed at promoting Boston as a multicultural tourism destination to boost the city's hobbled hospitality industry, launched on Monday after months of planning that started under the Walsh administration. Mayor Janey unveiled the push during a press event at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury in which she praised the campaign.

"For the first time I see our city promoting itself in a way that I feel seen,” Janey said in reference to a video which features local artists and entrepreneurs, many of them people of color.

The campaign, she said, "boldly puts our people and our neighborhoods front and center for the very first time.”

The messaging was created by the City of Boston in partnership with Colette Phillips Communications, Proverb, and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. It promotes Boston’s neighborhoods that are often overlooked in the tourism industry, including Roxbury and Dorchester.

“While what happens between Fenway Park and Faneuil Hall is incredible, it doesn’t tell the whole story and that’s what makes this campaign so compelling,” said Daren Bascome, founder and managing director of Proverb, an advertising agency.

Janey also said this campaign does not mean Boston’s COVID precautions should be loosened and the city must still continue to fight the pandemic.
“Our public health recovery is essential for the recovery, reopening, and renewal of Boston’s travel and hospitality sector,” Janey said. The city’s hospitality industry – which Janey said is Boston’s third largest industry and has a 70 percent people of color workforce – was hit hard by the pandemic.

“We can’t hope and wish and pray our way out of this,” said Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have to strategically work our way out of it and invest in a campaign that’s going to put Boston at the top of mind for those that are looking to travel someday in the future.”

The campaign aims to rebrand Boston as welcoming and culturally rich, after surveys illustrated a different reputation.

“While nobody was terribly surprised, I will say that we were probably disappointed in the fact that the narrative about Boston has been formed not by strategic investment and destination marketing programs,” Sheridan said. “In fact, it’s been formed by others.”

The ads will be marketed across Boston and New England and extend to the tri-state area. There are no current international plans, but the team said it could be possible in the future.

“Boston is not the only city devastated by the pandemic from a travel perspective so the competition is fierce,” Sheridan said. “Every destination is going after the same traveler and in fact they’re going after a much smaller group of travelers, as we cannot yet even appeal to international and far-reaching travelers.”

Bascome said ads will appear digitally and on billboards and social media. He also added they will also be advertising in targeted ethnic media outlets.
Bascome and Phillips have lived in Boston since arriving for college and they said they hope to highlight features that made them stay. Janey, a fourth generation Roxbury native, said she hopes the campaign highlights the Boston she has known her whole life.

"And I know I’m not the only one who thinks that or who feels that," she added.

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