Chicago is a lively, happening city – especially when the weather is warm. Any given summer weekend, all you have to do is follow the sounds of local bands to track down a neighborhood festival full of people celebrating the city’s rich diversity. I hear there are also a couple of professional baseball teams in town, as well as the largest convention center in the country. When you bring an experiential marketing event to Chicago, there is no shortage of people or space, but if you can only pick one or two spots before you have to move on, you need to know where you’re going to get that “bang for your buck”.
You’re probably familiar with the city’s iconic brand-friendly venues: the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, McCormick Place, Millennium Park. These spots are unlimited people resources, and it doesn’t get much more Chicago than a Brand Ambassador donning your logo right in front of “The Bean”. But believe it or not, there are other places in Chicago where your brand can do a little sight-seeing and still gain exposure to locals and visitors alike. Not to mention, these other venues don’t necessarily carry the same price tag as the more promotional-savvy brand names. Here are two such examples:
Pioneer Court – Where Michigan Ave meets the Chicago River, this plaza boasts space suitable for small-scale events and promotions. In recent years, it has hosted inauguration viewing parties, the Magnificent Mile Art Festival and numerous street team events. Within shouting distance are The Wrigley Building, Tribune Tower and the Chicago Riverwalk.
Buckingham Fountain – You know, the fountain from ‘Married… with Children’! This iconic water feature is located in the middle of Chicago’s “Front Yard” – Grant Park, and is very central to much of the city’s most popular attractions. A large plaza and surrounding grassy area are ideal for small-medium size events, and the view in any direction is spectacular: to the west is the most beautiful skyline anywhere, to the east is Lake Michigan, and north and south have unobstructed views of the lakefront action.
The Chicago brand names won’t disappoint, that’s for sure. But keep in mind that when budgets have to stretch from coast-to-coast, there are ways to activate your brand in Chicago without over-paying. Do you know of others? Feel free to share!
Photo credit: Flipped Out