place branding

Live Free and Blank: New Hampshire Attempts a Rebrand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 16, 2012 11:01 AM

The state of New Hampshire loves its tourists. After all, tourism is where a good chunk of the state’s cash comes from. In 2011, those nickels and dimes added up to more than $4.2 billion. Looks like nobody can exactly do the first part of the state’s historic motto, "Live Free or Die."

(And what's the point of encouraging potential tourists to do the second part?)

Because of that, the state is looking to draw in more tourists and launched an advertising campaign Thursday that hopes to help potential visitors think of New Hampshire in new ways, according to the Associated Press. Part of the new tourism push includes a play on that old motto.Continue reading...

place branding

$4-a-Gallon Gas? Pshaw! Get Your Kicks on Route 66 - Or Anywhere in Michigan

Posted by Dale Buss on March 30, 2012 01:01 PM

High gasoline prices be damned. America's tourism operators smell not only spring but also summer in the air, and they're gearing up for a business season that seems to hold the most promise of any in several years.

Rising auto sales and other indicators suggest Americans will be more active travelers this year than last year even if they have to pay $4 a gallon or more for the gasoline to get there. And among other locales, tourism operators in economically struggling Michigan, as well as the many small towns and dusty little museums along Route 66, want you to know they're open for business.

In Michigan, a state-sponsored study just found that last summer's Pure Michigan national-advertising campaign, featuring voiceovers by Tim Allen, attracted a record number of out-of-state visitors to the "beautiful peninsula" last year. The $14-million campaign motivated more than 3 million trips to the state and a projected $1 billion in spending at state businesses, the study found.Continue reading...

place branding

Visit Haiti and Help Pay to Promote Visiting Haiti

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2012 05:17 PM

In January of 2010, the Caribbean island of Haiti was hit with a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that likely killed 220,000 or more people and devastated the country’s infrastructure.

The U.S. has forked over $2 billion to help Haiti rebuild and plenty of other countries and aid organizations have donated countless hours and dollars to the cause. Things have moved along enough in the past two years that Haiti is now trying to “rebrand itself from Caribbean disaster zone to tourism Mecca,” according to the Miami Herald.

“One South Beach-inspired businessman is installing the nation’s first rooftop infinite pool, three restaurants, and an eventual helipad,” the Herald reports, while the Best Western offers a spa and a shuttle to the airport that will make sure visitors don’t see the “more seedy parts” of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Meanwhile, the airport is adding new immigration counters in the hopes that more arrivals will start coming.Continue reading...

place branding

Guest Post: Jay Wang on Brand USA as Nation Branding

Posted by Jay Wang on February 10, 2012 01:33 PM

Brand USA, a non-profit, public-private partnership, is to launch a global advertising campaign next month, as part of the country’s concerted effort in marketing tourism to the world. As its core mission, the organization, created in 2010, is to “encourage and inspire travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.”

While America’s image in the global political imagination has experienced ups and downs over the last decade, the U.S. has remained as a leading destination for international investment, education and, yes, tourism. In 2010, with nearly 60 million international visitors, the U.S. ranked second (only to France) in international tourist arrivals, and first in international tourism receipts. In-bound tourism has seen steady improvement since it hit a low in the aftermath of 9-11 and the ensuing war in Iraq.

Nevertheless, this campaign is important and timely. Symbolic as it may be, it sends an unmistakable signal reaffirming America’s openness and optimism, the very foundation of the country’s soft power.Continue reading...

place branding

Connecticut Crowdsources Rebranding

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 27, 2012 10:20 AM

Rebranding a state can be a dicey proposition. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an article about New Mexico's desire to come up with a new marketing slogan,

New Jersey hired a consultant a few years ago to come up with a new tourism slogan. The result? "New Jersey: We'll Win You Over." That may have been an improvement over its 1970s tagline, "New Jersey's Got It," which inspired innumerable jokes about venereal disease. But state officials thought "We'll Win You Over" sounded defensive and spiked the campaign.

So we're watching with interest another rebranding project in New York City's tri-state area: Connecticut, which has been saving its pennies and now has $22 million in its coffers to spend on boosting tourism and business investment in the state. The Nutmeg State hasn’t spent any money in the last two years on tourism and is now opening up its wallet to try and rebrand itself over the next two years.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Dow Defends, McDonald's Extends Olympic Sponsorship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2012 09:58 AM

As many as 25,000 people died in India back in 1984 due to the Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, and residents are still understandably upset about the experience that left many without family members, spouses, or friends.

In 1999, Carbide was bought by Dow Chemical, a purchase that Dow execs are likely muttering about to one another these days. The lasting unhappiness with Union is now being manifested in what seems to be a growing protest against Dow having anything to do with this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

Dow has forked over big bucks to be a top-tier IOC sponsor and was all set to “wrap” the main London 2012 Olympic stadium in a massive banner as part of its deal. However, the company responded to activists last month by scrapping to scraps its plans for the stadium wrap. That, apparently, has not been enough.Continue reading...

checking in

Coming Out to New York? The City’s First Gay Hotel Welcomes You

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 6, 2012 12:09 PM

The gay-rights movement was kicked off back in 1969 when a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a hangout for the gay community of the time, in New York’s Greenwich Village was met with outrage, protest, and violence. More than 40 years later, New York is getting its first gay, but “straight-friendly,” hotel.

The Out NYC is scheduled to open in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on March 1. reports that room prices start at $229 a night, although there is actually a cheaper option. The Out also has $99 “Sleep Share” rooms that will have you sharing your room with three other people. Don’t worry, you each get your own bed, TV, privacy curtains, and “a cubby to store your belongings,” the site reports.

The Out will have its own nightclub (partially put together by the creators of New York’s legendary Roxy), restaurant, and 5,000-square-foot fitness center along with three courtyards, one of which the hotel suggests would be good for a wedding now that gay marriage is legal in the state of New York.


Landmark Vegas Hotel No Longer Bears Hilton Name

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 4, 2012 11:01 AM

In the branding world, Las Vegas stands out as a city so well known that it is in a class by itself. The hotel brands that occupy the Vegas strip are just as famously iconic, so it's a rare event when one of them changes its name.

But on Tuesday, some Sin City visitors may have thought an extended New Year's hangover had them seeing things. That's when the long-standing Hilton name was removed from the Las Vegas Hilton and a new marquee appeared: The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Opened as the International Hotel in 1969, the property soon became the Las Vegas Hilton when the hotel chain bought it in 1971. But last year, financial troubles led to the hotel-casino seeking to end its agreement with Hilton, and new ownership took effect this year.

The new owners, an investor group that includes Colony Capital LLC, were determined the hotel will remain open for business without any big changes beyond a new name and website (indeed, Flavor Flav used the hotel to launch his vodka before the holiday, LeFlav Straight Up). However, guests staying at the hotel can no longer take advantage of Hilton's hotel loyalty program.Continue reading...

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