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What's missing from the city's new "Chicago Epic" tourism ad

Written by
Brent DiCrescenzo

Today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Don Welsh, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, launched the city's new national ad campaign. The $2.2 million tourism pitch, entitled "Chicago Epic," will be the first commercial for our city shown outside of the Midwest region, with the campaign specifically targeting the Denver and San Francisco markets. Take a look at the ad, created by FCB and Starcom USA, narrated by slam poet Marc Kelly Smith (who really puts some extra stank on "Cheekawgoh" at the end).

The video packs in a lot of expected, super Chicago-y shots of Chicago—Charles Joly mixing a cocktail, a Blackhawks victory parade, an Andrew Bird marquee above the Chicago Theatre and, er, a surfer. But there are some glaring omissions. Here's what is left out of "Chicago Epic":

1) Winter Funny how the trees are always in bloom, the beaches are full of volleyball players, the children are splashing in fountains and nobody has a jacket. It makes Chicago look like freaking Rio. New York City lures tourists year round. We should not be a seasonal destination. Where is Christkindlmarket, the Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon, or even just some gorgeous shots of snow?

2) The White Sox and Bears Naturally, Wrigley Field is shown, as is North Carolina resident Michael Jordan, who still laces it up every night for the Chicago Bulls. You see Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup. Yet the White Sox get no love. The Cell has better food, you know. The Bears seem like a more glaring omission, especially with the NFL Draft in town. They really, really don't want anyone to think about cold weather.

3) A hot dog and deep dish pizza Honestly, we're okay with this break from stereotypes. Intead of Vienna Beef dragged through the garden we see inside Alinea's kitchen. Hey, that's only like 100 times the cost of a hot dog meal, rich Bay Area dot com types! Green Street Smoked Meats gets some love, too.

4) El trains I guess they want people to just Uber around.

5) Theater and comedy The ad subtly reminds us that the Downtown Theater District was Daley's baby, while Rahm remains thoroughly focused on rock & roll. We see Lollapalooza, guitars and Andrew Bird… but no Broadway in Chicago, no Steppenwolf, no Second City? The CSO and Lyric remain conspicuously absent as the "old arts" are pushed aside for activities like eating and festivals—our new official pastimes.

6) The South Side Aside from a shot of Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown, the lower half of our city is largely ignored here. Though, to be fair, a lot of the North Side is absent as well—we get a mural in Logan Square at the beginning. Trust us, Denver, explore outside of the Loop.

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