250th-anniversary effort aims to boost Pittsburgh economy

With Pittsburgh set to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2008, the ACCD and Pittsburgh 250 Commission want to highlight some of the city's best attributes.

Organization:  Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD)
Campaign:  Imagine Pittsburgh
PR team:  Burson-Marsteller
Other marketing:  Red House Communications on advertising
Launch:  September 8
Budget:  $3 million through 2008

Objective: With Pittsburgh set to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2008, the ACCD and Pittsburgh 250 Commission want to highlight some of the city's best attributes. The campaign aims to attract more companies to the Pittsburgh region, get local businesses to expand in the area, increase tourism to southwest Pennsylvania, and attract top talent to the area. "We want the country to recognize that Pittsburgh and the companies and the opportunities that are here are great for young people to come and make a difference," said Bryan Iams, director of Burson-Marsteller Pittsburgh.

Idea: With "Imagine what you can do here" as the tagline, the campaign emphasizes Pittsburgh's youth culture, resulting from the 35 colleges in the area, and that it is a place where businesspeople, sports fans, and tourists can come to experience bargain tourist destinations and multibillion-dollar companies.

Tools: Allegheny County chief executive Dan Onorato (above left) and Jim Rohr (r), chairman and CEO of The PNC Financial Services Group and ACCD chairman, unveiled the details of the effort at a recent news conference. Also launched was a Web site, www.ImaginePittsburgh.com, to allow residents and tourists to talk about what they love about Pittsburgh and upload personal stories. "It's like a MySpace-type tool for the resident level," added Iams. "We're using that to generate interest in the campaign."

Measurement: Burson will be measuring media hits and gauging whether those hits reflect the messages of the campaign. Metrics on tourists and on business ventures will be looked at, as well. "We'll take all of the business metrics and then the standard media relations and PR metrics to tell whether this is making an impact on the region's economic development," Iams said.

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