San Francisco launches multimillion-dollar campaign to boost tourism

Amanda del Castillo Image
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
SF launches multimillion-dollar campaign to boost tourism
The "Always San Francisco" campaign highlights the city's most iconic sights and sounds with a minute-long commercial aimed at attracting tourists.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A massive, multimillion-dollar campaign aiming to attract tourists to the city of San Francisco was launched Tuesday. The new "Always San Francisco" campaign highlights the city's most iconic sights and sounds, with a minute-long commercial already airing in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Houston, and Chicago.

All of this as the city's economy struggles to rebound after the pandemic and public perception is less than favorable.

San Francisco's first-ever television commercial showcases the city by the bay in a brighter light. The San Francisco Travel Association campaign comes equipped with a TV ad, online material and more

"The ad was actually pretty good," Chicago resident and tourist Agnes Yu-Suaso watched it and said she's excited for a future return trip.

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"There was a lot of things they talk a little bit about, so you have an idea of how things- like, oh, okay, maybe I should come here and check it out too," she told ABC7 News.

The new commercial features the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies, Lombard Street and more. Also on full display is the diversity of various neighborhoods.

Prospective visitors can browse and learn more about what didn't make the minute-long ad, at their leisure, online.

And for those who live here, SF Travel Association's executive VP and chief marketing officer Lynn Bruni-Perkins said, "I hope it evokes some civic pride. I mean, we have a lot to be proud of. This is the city who has been through a lot in the last few years and we always, you know, the Phoenix Rising is on our flag."

San Francisco's tourism industry has been struggling to bounce back since the pandemic. That issue, compounded by the known negative public perception surrounding crime, homelessness and drug use in the city has made that a tough task.

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"The idea of trying to put together an ad campaign that's featuring the great stuff, without addressing the reality of the city... my guess is it's not gonna work right now," San Jose State Associate Professor of Public Relations Dr. Matt Cabot said, as the rhetoric has to match the reality.

"It would be better if they actually address their issues and then do a campaign like this to say, 'Listen, we fixed these issues. Now it's time to come back,'" he said.

Still, the $6 million campaign looks to sell the experience of what is being called the "most fascinating 49 square miles on the planet."

Bruni-Perkins explained, "San Francisco still is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has a lot to offer visitors. And we really wanted to challenge that negative narrative with this campaign."

To view the campaign and commercial, click here.

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If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live