Published on Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Picture this: award-winning promotion may be inspiration for others

The city’s "Picture Yourself in Chicago" e-Postcard has turned out to be a winning formula, tourism officials say.

"Our office has been aggressively using social media (including Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube) to market the city," said Kristin Unger, public relations associate, Chicago Office of Tourism.

Visitors can create their own Chicago e-Postcard with Explore Chicago’s “Picture Yourself.” The interactive game was recently named a Silver W3 award winner by the International Academy of the Visual Arts.

"Picture Yourself in Chicago was developed in response to the growing interest in Chicago's neighborhoods," said Dorothy Coyle, Director of the Chicago Office of Tourism. She added:

"The game highlights diverse communities such as Pilsen, Bronzeville, Chinatown and President Obama’s own Hyde Park neighborhood through a fun, engaging activity."

Using the game, site visitors upload their photo to create their own custom cartoon character, which can be personalized by adding unique accessories like Chicago sports jerseys, outrageous hairstyles and others. Then, they can choose an iconic Chicago location as a backdrop for the postcard, including attractions like Millennium Park, Wrigley Field or Navy Pier.

The postcards can be emailed to friends or shared on Facebook and other Web sites.

The Chicago Office of Tourism’s official Twitter account, @ExploreChicago, has been ranked in the Top 3 Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) accounts for three consecutive months, according to Go See Tell, a website that ranks Twitter feeds of over 450 destinations nationwide on a monthly basis. The Chicago Office of Tourism uses @ExploreChicago as a seven-day-a-week “Concierge Service,” offering advice and suggestions about the city. Visitor service representatives answer questions and provide information with a focus on free and discounted events and activities in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

By David Wilkening

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