The 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.
Houstonians 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 $12 million over the next 5 or 6 years promoting the city with this campaign.
- Houston: The City with No Limits [Greater Houston Partnership]
- No Limits: Houston rolls out an image campaign targeting young professionals [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- Houston’s not hot! Fancy new slogan touts cool city’s unlimited possibilities [Culturemap]
- Houston Unveils New Slogan: ‘A City of No Limits’ [abc13]
- Previously on Swamplot: My Houston: Like MySpace, only Meaner