New ‘City with No Limits’ Slogan Will Be a Catchy, Fun Way To Promote Houston’s Legendary Sprawl

Grand Parkway Segment D, Fort Bend County, Houston

Houston: The City with No Limits LogoThe campaign may include some ingredients that remind us of its predecessors — the new video reintroducing Houston to potential visitors, for example, features a rockin’ sound track from a New York band and lots of images of happy people enjoying mostly Inner Loop attractions — but make no mistake: This new branding effort from the Greater Houston Partnership is fundamentally different from the mostly goofy and un-self-aware “Houston’s Hot,” My Houston,” “Space City,” “Expect the Unexpected,” and “Houston Proud” campaigns from other organizations that preceded it. “Houston: The City with No Limits,” a concept and campaign unveiled yesterday, centers on a catchy slogan that rings true, because it highlights an essential part of the city’s ever-expanding built landscape and our unquenchable urge to spread ourselves out.


Addicks Park Ten, Houston

Houston: The City with No Limits LogoHoustonians and potential visitors, of course, are free to attach the descriptive slogan to whatever they want. And sure, it’ll be easy to poke fun at the effort by pairing the “no limits” label with any number of the city’s pitfalls (heat, air conditioning bills, or the size of residents’ bellies; what else?). But what makes the “City with No Limits” label so compelling is that it draws attention to an ongoing effort the region as a whole puts great pride and effort into. One that helps drive the local economy, is encoded in its consistently enlarging legal boundaries, and is known around the world anyway. Our sprawl may have been unsung until now, but sprawl is Houston’s brand for the taking.

And by drawing attention to the vast, quickly multiplying, franchise-rich, seemingly limitless nature of the city, the campaign gives enterprises at the edges of Houston and the greater region — the conquest of the Katy Prairie, the development of the ExxonMobil campus, and our seemingly unquenchable hunger for wider ring roads lined by commerce-filled feeders, for example — equal billing with all those amenities in the growing-but-still-atypical Inner Loop. Most of Houston is outside the loop; it’s refreshing that this marketing effort reflects that.

The Greater Houston Partnership says it will spend about $12 million over the next 5 or 6 years promoting the city with this campaign.

Photos: Fort Bend County Toll Road Authority (Grand Parkway Segment D construction); Nelson Minar (West Houston; license)

Facts on the Ground

25 Comment

  • ugh, hate it already. come to Houston, the city with no limits, except when trying to create a highly educated local workforce.
    i mean, is there any other reason why this campaign seems to be designed for a more international audience rather than a local one like the previous campaigns that incorporated more of a local pride?

  • Article cover photo:
    Retention ditches outside of Lakes of Bella Terra, looking east toward the Grand Parkway main lanes/ Westpark Tollway flyover from 99 S to Westpark Toll Rd east.

    Am I right?

  • I can think of many meanings for this, and big sprawl isn’t the first, or even second that comes to mind. Knowing other cities – LA – Chicago – NYC – DFW, all of which have huge sprawls, I don’t see Houston as the owner of this sentiment… In fact, I think this slogan captures “potential” more than anything. If you want to live in the burbs outside the loop, you can. If you want to chase a fruitful career, you can. If you want to live inside the loop, you can… In Houston, you can literally make the life you want happen. And that is what I feel like this branding is trying to, somewhat successfully i might add, caputure.

  • Good idea. Why not take a “negative” like “sprawl” and turn it into a positive. Truth is there are both negative and positive aspects to sprawl but Houston has always gotten mostly criticized for its ability to expand freely. The day will come when people will leave the inner city and seek the suburbs once again and actually have never stopped seeking them.

  • Dang. And I was just getting used to this one:

  • “Houston, Gateway to Pasadena”

    Can I have $12 million?

  • Sorry, but Houston is no more sprawled than any other large metros. Look at aerial imagery of any of the big ones. Just because Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, LA, Chicago; etc all have organized sprawl (zoning), doesn’t mean it’s any better than our non-zoned city sprawl. My point, sprawl is sprawl. I think cities like Houston get called out more when it comes to sprawl because of our lack of density in our core. As the inner loop core keeps densifying and gains a more wide spread identity, I think the sprawl argument against Houston will level out. BTW, I also think the video is alright. It’s youthful and vibrant and that’s an image I think Houston should start to capture a lot more of. Not everything should always be geared towards the family-friendly crowd.

  • No limits! Just don’t try to get gay married, buy alcohol outside predefined times, take public transportation…

  • But I really liked FYHA’s!!!

  • The slogan itself does not makes me think of sprawl but the logo does.

  • Love it or hate, Houston is beating most by far…and if you have to bitch and don’t it: MOVE/LEAVE!

  • A totally forgettable and generic slogan. What a waste of 12 million bucks. Obviously there is a shortage of intellectual capital over at the Greater Houston Partnership.

  • We have unhip people trying to put a name on this city, but they say they’ve got everybody involved for the name. What should represent this city is it being “Everybody’s City” no matter where they come from and including all peoples of the world making Houston the city and the freedom to express what they’ve come here for.

  • i got better one: “Welcome to Houston, now Go Home!”

  • Only one city PR slogan has ever worked. “What happens in Vegas . . .” was brilliant, although pretty used up by now. Otherwise, there has not been a single city PR slogan that has ever worked. Even I Love NY (big red heart shape instead of the word) did nothing to convince tourists to dare to walk the crime ridden streets of NY city in the late 70s and early 80s. It just looked good on T-shirts and coffee mugs. It took almost a decade of Rudy Giuliani’s storm troopers cracking skulls to finally get people to come to NY in droves again.
    City PR slogans generally just illicit an immediate response of “umm, no.’ For example: Cleveland Rocks! Newark, On a Roll. Dallas. Live Large, Think Big. And, of course, Houston. A city with no limits. Immediately, I start thinking about all of our limits (heat, flooding, traffic, mosquitos, etc.). Why not just be candid. Houston has a lot to like and a lot of problems. After a while, you get used to the problems and end up liking the city a lot. So, “Houston: I’m ok with it. You will be too.”

  • Flat Ugly Cheap and Hot.
    Once you get used to the driving and constant air-conditioning,
    You won’t even notice that you’ll never be able to buy a home in any other major American city.

  • Actually, the city does have its limits. Just go to any public event these days and realize that the crowds have become almost intolerable, and it just isn’t that much fun anymore. Traffic, water, air, etc… The Houston area officials should be more focused on improving life for the existing residents, rather than trying to add to the already steady influx.

  • Suck it, Austin – you still have no professional sports teams.

  • @Movocelot

    That’s fantastic.

    “Houston, you’ll get used to it.”

  • And more’s the pity, Superdave: as a consequence Austin has no defunct professional sports arenas, with their amazing potential.
    We did have this fusty old auditorium:
    … which was recycled into this:
    They just up and did it. We didn’t even get to talk about it for twenty years.

  • Soon all of North America will be Houston!

    or at the very least it’ll be hard to tell when you leave Houston and enter Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, or Galveston at some point

  • “Houston: If the humidity doesn’t get you, the mosquitos will!”

  • I have to agree with other comments about the City should be trying to improve the lives of CURRENT citizens and not trying to bring in more people. It isn’t like we have a population shortage here – or, even a shortage of employable people.
    The Inner Loop roads are crumbling or woefully inadequate for current traffic (e.g. Shepherd between 59 and 10 and Westheimer inside the Loop are two prime cases). Adding higher-density buildings inside the loop isn’t a great answer if we don’t expand the infrastructure: sewer, roads, public transport. Of course, maybe the Mayor is counting on stuffing more people ITL then hoping that the tax dollars roll in fast enough to build the infrastructure before everyone goes bat-sh*t being gridlocked in their new high-density ITL apartment?
    If people have to move to Texas, I’d suggest Lubbock or Amarillo. They could use a touch of a “No limits” population boom.

  • (commenting on a days old story but…)

    dag : “No limits! Just don’t try to get gay married, buy alcohol outside predefined times, take public transportation…”
    Odd as I live in Houston. I take public transportation often, and got married. I’ll give you the limits to times buying booze but is that bad that you can’t buy booze 24/7/365?