Press Release
October 28, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Announces Municipal Marketing Initiatives

Recycling, BigBelly Trash Cans and Billboard Initiatives Guarantee Millions in Revenue in 2013, Preserve City’s Historic Integrity, Create New Public Safety Broadcast Network, and Offer Opportunity to Celebrate the Arts
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott today announced that the City of Chicago is pursuing three municipal marketing initiatives in 2013 to achieve the goal of raising $18 million in new revenue for the City. The initiatives include advertising on the city’s nearly 400 BigBelly trash cans throughout downtown, the creation of a new digital network of 34 sites on the city’s expressways, and a sponsorship for citywide recycling efforts.

“These initiatives allow us to preserve critical city services, bring in new revenue and protect the City’s historic integrity and character,” said Mayor Emanuel. “While the city continues to crack down on illegal billboards, we are creating a billboard network with cutting edge digital technology that will allow us to better communicate with residents and travelers about important public safety announcements”

Last year, the City formed the Municipal Marketing Advisory Council, which includes eight professionals with significant experience in marketing, architecture, and the arts. The Advisory Council advised the city throughout the process, developing a series of guiding principles and providing an independent voice to the decision making process. The City conducted a rolling Request for Qualification process that started in November 2011 and produced dozens of ideas from the marketing and advertising communities across the country and even internationally.

“After years of trying and failing to achieve a municipal marketing initiative that works, this new approach offers the right combination of quality and new revenue for the City of Chicago without diminishing or damaging the City’s character and integrity,” said Alderman Danny Solis, 25th Ward, Chairman of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards. “Mayor Emanuel’s team and an independent Advisory Council bent over backwards not just to get this done but to get it done right through a thorough, thoughtful and deliberate process that has led to the City exceeding its new revenue goals providing a critical portal of communication that will promote local arts and improve public safety.”

“This approach puts Chicago on the cutting edge in marketing with the use of innovative, digital technology that will not just provide advertisements but also promote the arts and improve public safety communication through a new broadcast network,” said Justine Fedak, Chair of the Advisory Council and Senior Vice President and Head of Marketing for BMO Harris bank.

Currently, the City of Chicago has about 1,300 billboards that only provide $1 million in revenue to the City in fees and fines. The digital billboard network, which will lead to 34 sites along the city’s expressways, will bring in a guaranteed $15 million in 2013 and $154 million over the life of the 20-year contract. The signs will be built through a new joint venture between Interstate media and JCDecaux, known as Interstate JCDecaux, LLC.

“This digital billboard network provides a unique and exciting opportunity to celebrate local and even international artistic achievements by displaying them on these billboards that spread across the city,” said Tony Karman, President and CEO of ExpoChicago and Advisory Council member. “This is a natural extension of Mayor Emanuel’s cultural plan for Chicago and discussions are already underway within the arts and culture community on how we can best maximize the potential of this digital network.” 

In addition to the billboards, the City also announced a one-year partnership with Vector media to sell advertising on the BigBelly garbage cans throughout the loop. With this arrangement the City will receive 50 percent of any revenue that is achieved.

Finally, in the coming weeks, the city will also be announcing a corporate sponsorship of the citywide recycling program.

“I am very proud of what this is snd what it is not,” said Lee Bey, architectural expert and Advisory Council member. “It is not a sign slapped on a bridge house, but it is a unique, innovative concept that is a win for the taxpayers of Chicago on several levels including improving public safety, celebrating the arts and raising millions in new revenue year after year.”

The City Council will vote on municipal marketing as part of the 2013 budget process. It will be introduced on October 31, 2012. 

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