Hartford — Three years after its tourism budget was reduced to $1, Connecticut is back with a two-year, $27 million marketing campaign to promote tourism and brand the state as “still revolutionary.”

The state spent $500,000 on its new logo and other creative materials, with most of the remainder of the two-year budget going to the placement of ads on television, radio, billboards and social media. It also created a new website, ctvisit.com.

The campaign is geared to growing the state’s $11.5 billion annual tourism business, but it also is meant to assist in economic development, branding the state as cutting edge from Eli Whitney to Igor Sikorsky to bioscience.


“It’s not just about tourism. It’s not just about hospitality. It’s about getting our step back in Connecticut,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday at a press conference at the Old State House. “That’s why I believe it is the right story to tell.”

The initial ads feature Connecticut’s coast, hills and tourism spots, including the Mystic Aquarium, Essex Steam Train, Goodspeed Opera House, Gillette Castle, Connecticut Science Center and the state’s two tribal casinos.

Woven throughout the campaign is Connecticut’s place in history, beginning with Whitney’s revolutionary interchangeable parts in manufacturing and continuing to Samuel Colt’s famed single-action revolvers and Sikorsky’s helicopters.

Malloy made clear during the 2010 campaign for governor that he saw the state’s elimination of tourism marketing as shortsighted, and he repeatedly complained that Connecticut undersold its place in history.

On Monday, the governor even mentioned a piece of history unlikely to find its way into a marketing campaign: its role in the 1960s sexual revolution.

He referred to Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down legal prohibitions on the use of contraception. It is considered a precursor to Roe v. Wade, which asserted a right to privacy, effectively legalizing abortion.

The campaign launched today was the result of work announced in January by the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which hired Chowder Inc., a creative agency specializing in “destination marketing and advertising.”

Also working on the camapign are: Fleishman-Hillard, a global marketing firm based in St. Louis; Media Storm of Norwalk; and The Harrison Group, a research and marketing company based in Waterbury. Harrison’s specialities include travel research.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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