Marketing Houston's "Coolness" in New Campaign to Draw People With Big Brains to the City

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Photo by Aaron Reiss
An iPad captures what Houston means to this woman.

Standing among NRG Stadium's club seats, in front of guests and media in an almost entirely empty arena, Paul Hobby couldn't help making a football analogy.

"When you have the lead, what do you do?" the Greater Houston Partnership chairman asked. "You run up the score."

In 2012 Forbes named Houston America's Coolest City. In 2013 the magazine called Houston America's Next Great Global City. GHP is ready to add the missing pieces to stoke the city's fire -- a fire GHP hopes can be "limitless." At least according to its new ad campaign.

GHP unveiled a new branding for Houston Tuesday at NRG Stadium whose goal is to bring "knowledge workers" --- skilled employees like engineers and scientists --- to Houston's ten-county region.

Bringing those people, according to Jamey Rootes, a GHP board member and the president of the Houston Texans, will require changing outsiders' perceptions of Houston. GHP is calling Houston "The City With No Limits," and is marketing the city's coolness, not its economy.

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Photo courtesy of Greater Houston Partnership

"I think we all understand that the perception of Houston doesn't meet the reality we know it to meet," Rootes said.

Hence the new branding campaign. Houston-based MMI Agency and Austin-based Avalanche Consulting conducted the research and developed the creative elements for the campaign, which includes the hashtag #HoustonNoLimits. According to Rootes, the two companies' research found that people decide whether they'd like to live in a city before looking into a city's employment opportunities.

That explains the campaign's two-minute primary promotional video, which focuses on Houston's neighborhoods and attractions -- from Discovery Green to The Heights to Texans games.



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11 comments
HoustonLocalAgency
HoustonLocalAgency

 I only have good words for great cities. Houston is a great muse especially for people who tend to develop to live their dream. A city where everything can happen especially on the marketing area which is developing day by day. What you should do with a lead ?! I guess you could invite it to a nice Houston Marketing Presentation. All good things happen with a purpose here. And good things last.

krendelkookie
krendelkookie

Jamey Roots is a kiss-ass yes-man and the perfect spokesperson for such a weak marketing campaign. Houston tries this every so often and it always turns out the same  – terribly. And I suspect Roots may be part of the problem, as he forces ad agencies dumb down their work (see: Texans)

stevek77536
stevek77536

A better motto: "At least we're not Dallas."

rasclot123
rasclot123

Lame ass video. Houston is cool because although the town is ugly, it has an authentic feeling to it.  We don't give a shit about looking like Dallas.  Were not as weird or cool as Austin, but at least were authentic.  The coolest thing about Houston is there are lots of jobs and the cost of living is low.  Only downside is the humidity and ton's of lazy homeless alcoholic bums that beg at every intersection.


moosecack
moosecack

You wrote in your article:  "...Maybe that's why people don't think Houston is cool."


The crux of the matter is that "cool cities"  do not need to keep telling the world that they are "great" and "world-class", and advertise constantly that they are cool.  Cool cities are innately cool...without the constant self-aggrandizing. 


If Houston wants to be world-class, they must stop sucking the corporate teat, and invest our tax monies and their government grants for it's populous and city infrastructure.  I commented earlier that I sure wish the City of Houston would spend some of my cash on fixing the decrepit road conditions, and beautifying the city.  I like living here, but man,...Houston is undoubtedly one of the ugliest cities I've ever seen.

It’s about finding the balance between providing incentives to lure corporate business, and providing quality of life for us citizens.   You cannot cater solely to corporate interests whilst ignoring  the people that make Houston unique.

They must institute some measure of zoning, continue the removal of dilapidated structures, fix the abhorrent road conditions, install real mass transit (suburban & light rail to every corner of the city, airports, Galveston), create more green spaces and parks, and generally improve the aesthetics and livability of a city that is pretty ugly in aspect.  If you want to attract the types of workers mentioned in this article,  you better provide them with some incentives that would counter-balance inherent negatives that we cannot do anything about (like our suffocating weather).   


ecnordstrom
ecnordstrom

"No Limits?" 1998 called and wants its rap label back. How about "Houston's cool, even when it isn't"


rollmodl
rollmodl

@moosecack "Cool cities"  do not need to keep telling the world that they are "great" and "world-class", and advertise constantly that they are cool.  Cool cities are innately cool...without the constant self-aggrandizing. 


Exactly! On point!

aliberaltexan
aliberaltexan

@moosecack 

I'll take the "suffocating weather" any day over a winter in the North or Northeast.

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