Launching the second round of a campaign promoting Boston as a diverse and welcoming destination, city officials said on Monday that they hope the effort not only drives new travelers to visit but also encourages Bostonians to play tourist across their hometown’s neighborhoods.
“I remember growing up and, you know, there were folks I went to high school with in Dorchester that had never been to Charlestown, and it’s too easy in our city to get comfortable with what’s right down the street versus hopping on a free 28 bus — just putting that little plug in there — to visit other neighborhoods and other restaurants and other cultural institutions,” Segun Idowu, Boston’s chief of economic opportunity and inclusion, said at a press conference announcing the extension of the “All Inclusive Boston” campaign.
Using both federal American Rescue Plan Act funds and money from Boston’s operating budget, the city awarded some $1.5 million for the second phase of the campaign, which involves digital and social media marketing, print, radio, video, and a new partnership with local NBCUniversal TV stations. The campaign was created by Colette Phillips Communications, Boston-based ad agency Proverb, and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Mayor Michelle Wu said 84 percent of contractors and subcontractors involved in the effort are businesses owned by women or people of color. So far, she said, the initial All Inclusive Boston campaign “has generated more than 4,000 new visits to our city since January of 2021, which is an incredible feat given the dynamics of the pandemic and all that our communities have been struggling with.”
“This campaign is part of our effort to create and tell the story of a Boston for everyone,” Wu said. “Whether your family dates back six generations here, whether you are new to this country or city, or whether you haven’t yet had the chance to come and visit, we are here, we are welcome, we are ready to embrace you.”
Colette Phillips, president and CEO of the communications firm, said the campaign also aims to “reinvigorate the economy by driving visitors and residents alike to experience some of the traditional under-visited small businesses” that have been hit hard by the pandemic and its economic disruption.
Wu and other officials unveiled a 30-second promotional video that will anchor the campaign, in which several people – and one barking dog with subtitles – declare, “This is my Boston accent.” One says the phrase in Korean, another signs it, and one whispers it from within the main branch of the Boston Public Library. The speakers are engaging in various activities, including skateboarding, grabbing a beer, and putting the finishing touches on a plate of bao buns in a restaurant kitchen.
Daren Bascome, Proverb’s managing director and founder, said the idea was to take something Boston is known for — the distinctive accent of some residents — and use it as a way to reintroduce the city and “underscore just the rich diversity of our city, the rich diversity of our places.”
“There are more than 140 languages that are spoken in our city. There are people who always had many different Boston accents,” he said.