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Houston's New Slogan

Houston's not hot! Fancy new slogan touts cool city's unlimited possibilities

Houston The City With No Limits Slogan
The new Houston slogan reaches for the stars. Courtesy of Greater Houston Partnership
Greater Houston Partnership City with no limits campaign video
The new slogan was unveiled on the big screen at NRG Stadium. Photo by Nicole Appleby

Officials from the Greater Houston Partnership unveiled the latest slogan in a seemingly never-ending campaign to change the city's image.

Get ready for "Houston: The City With No Limits."

Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes and GHP chairman Paul Hobby presented a slick video detailing the new campaign on a massive screen in NRG Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards, Rootes urged the 200 or so city leaders and media representatives to spread the word about what a cool city Houston is.

"We're tropical — not hot," Rootes said emphatically, noting that the average temperature is six degrees cooler here than Miami.

 "We're tropical — not hot," Rootes said emphatically, noting that the average temperature is six degrees cooler here than Miami. 

The new slogan and accompanying campaign are the result of a 14-month effort involving a 35-member task force of business leaders, voluminous research (with extensive surveys of 500 people) and test marketing to hatch the latest plan to reshape perceptions of the fourth largest city as a great place to live and work.

Cindy Marion, CEO of Houston-based MMI Agency, which conducted extensive market research on the subject and has crafted a branding campaign with Austin-based Avalanche Consulting, said the data shows that Houstonians invariably say they love living here and the unlimited possibilities the city offers.

"The perception doesn't meet reality," Rootes said. "We are going to do something about it. If not us, who? If not now, when?"

A 30-second video, set to the tune of the current hit "Best Day of My Life," emphasizes the slogan with smiling Houstonians dancing amid the city's skyline and landmarks. 

Ad campaign planned

The partnership plans to spend $12 million over the next four years, using private funds, to tout the image-changing campaign. For the rest of this year, the emphasis will be on social media — the web site is thecitywithnolimits.com and hashtag is #HoustonNoLimits — with plans in 2015 to target advertising to college graduates looking for high-paying jobs in the energy sector as well as a more general ad campaign in major markets.

"We don't have to mislead or stretch the truth about the message. The reality of Houston as a place to live is so phenomenally high."

But after the noticeable failure of previous slogans — past clunkers include "Houston's Hot," "Expect the Unexpected" and "Houston Proud" — will prospects for the newest slogan be any different? Marion said the campaign has tested well with its target audience and the city has noticeable changed in the past decade.

"We're at a point where Houstonians really want to get the story told about how great Houston is," she said. "Houston is more cosmopolitan, more dynamic, more sophisticated, more entertainment-oriented, more well-rounded, more diverse...We don't have to mislead or stretch the truth about the message. The reality of Houston as a place to live is so phenomenally high. It's a fun place to live."

One questioner at a press conference wondered if the new slogan had an oblique reference to Houston's no-zoning policies. Marion said that might be one of the elements inferred but it wasn't intentional. "Mostly (the slogan) is about the unlimited opportunity to do things that can't be done elsewhere," she said.

And, she insisted, there is no swipe — intentional or not  — at Austin City Limits. "That didn't even come up in the creative brainstorm at all," she said.

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