Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, American Airlines Expand Strategic Marketing Partnership With Joint Million-Dollar Advertising Campaign

Ready, Set, Chicago Campaign to Drive Awareness of Lower Costs for Meetings and Convention Exhibitors in Chicago, a Key Hub for American

Jun 18, 2010, 08:30 ET from Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau

CHICAGO, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) and American Airlines today announced plans for a global marketing campaign titled Ready, Set, Chicago as part of its expanded strategic marketing partnership.

The announcement comes three weeks after the State of Illinois enacted into law historic reform legislation meant to cut costs for meetings and convention exhibitors and keep McCormick Place Convention Center competitive in the convention and trade show industry.

Historically, the CCTB has had budget limitations to launch a campaign of this scale. However, building on the Celebrate Chicago initiative announced by American in April, the Ready, Set, Chicago campaign will broadly promote lower costs for meetings and convention exhibitors in Chicago as a result of the game-changing legislation enacted into law on May 27 and reach a larger audience.

As a result, there is now strong potential for existing business to re-commit and new business to be booked from throughout the United States and around the world to travel to Chicago for meetings and conventions at McCormick Place. In turn, that potential for travel represents a significant opportunity for American to work with the CCTB and its partners to extend its global reach in the years ahead. American is making a $500,000 commitment to bring the campaign to reality and to take advantage of the opportunity to conduct joint marketing with the CCTB. Already, American is working closely with the CCTB and its existing and potential customers on special group and meeting travel discounts to incentivize travel on American to Chicago.

"Chicago has never been a city to sit on the sidelines. When concerns over the cost of doing business at McCormick Place threatened our meetings and convention industry, we did what Chicagoans are famous for – we rose to the challenges thrown our way and met them with decisive action," said Donna Shaw, CCTB Vice President, Marketing and Communications. "Without the timely and important support of American Airlines, we would be hard-pressed to share this news with prospective meeting planners across the globe. American's commitment is a great example of how corporations throughout Chicagoland are stepping up to make sure the city's economy stays strong for the long term."

"Chicago is one of American's most important hubs and one of our network's five cornerstone cities, so we jumped at the opportunity to deepen our partnership with the CCTB through this new marketing campaign, especially at such an historic moment for the city," said Roger Frizzell – Vice President of Corporate Communications and Advertising for American. "We believe Ready, Set, Chicago will help drive more visitors and business to the Chicagoland area and have immediate and ongoing economic impact for the city, and in particular, for meeting and convention business at McCormick Place. And by working closely with the CCTB, we are actively looking for ways to jointly market to businesses large and small for travel on our network to Chicago."

The CCTB and American Airlines have been strategic partners for nearly two decades. This latest campaign will feature advertising in the top U.S. print newspapers, travel trade publications, travel-related websites and other key meeting planner communications channels. Additional elements will include an enhanced online key word search program, mobile and social media activities and a dedicated microsite ( that will house a wealth of information about the new program.

In addition, American today also launched the next phase of its Celebrate Chicago campaign. The campaign will feature a special Celebrate Chicago website ( that will highlight a series of promotions designed to stimulate additional traffic to Chicago. As part of the initial launch of Celebrate Chicago in April, American announced the addition of 16 new routes to Chicago with significant AAdvantage frequent flyer mile promotions. The announcement also unveiled the availability of First Class service on American Eagle jets, designed to help stimulate business and premium travel to and from Chicago.

American Airlines traces its roots to a flight taken on April 15, 1926, by then little-known aviator, Charles Lindbergh, who flew mail for the U.S. Postal Service aboard a bi-plane from Chicago to St. Louis. Over the past eight decades, Chicago has become the second largest hub airport operation in American's global network. American and its regional airline partner, American Eagle, have nearly 10,000 Chicago-based employees. The airlines, along with AmericanConnection, operate nearly 500 departures to approximately 120 destinations, including 17 nonstop international cities, from Chicago O'Hare International Airport.  American also proudly supports more than 140 charitable, civic and philanthropic organizations in the Chicagoland area.

SOURCE Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau