The San Francisco Travel Association has launched its largest-ever global marketing and advertising campaign, “Always San Francisco,” to promote tourism to the city. The multi-million-dollar campaign targets leisure travellers and meeting planners in major domestic markets and key international markets. It is the destination marketing organization’s first campaign to include television advertising.
Celebrating the city’s bold, inviting, and playful ethos, the “Always San Francisco” campaign features iconic locations visitors already connect to San Francisco—the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Lombard Street—and ones that showcase the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and the diversity of visitor experiences. The campaign also includes cameos by San Franciscans, such as Lady Camden of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, artist Sirron Norris, dancers from the acclaimed AXIS Dance Company, musicians Mae Powell and Michael O’Konis, Chinatown lion dancers, and chefs from Michelin-starred Angler, to represent the talent and inclusivity the city champions.
“This is the largest campaign San Francisco Travel has ever launched due to the incredible support from the City and County of San Francisco, Visit California, and other stakeholders,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro. “Tourism is vital to the city’s economic recovery, and ‘Always San Francisco’ is designed to drive increased visitation by showing the authentic San Francisco experience people love and dream about.”
San Francisco Travel Chief Marketing Officer Lynn Bruni-Perkins said, “The campaign evokes the emotional joy visitors find here. San Francisco will always be San Francisco. It is ever-changing, but the feeling of San Francisco remains constant. Its epic beauty, iconic landmarks, diverse people, and larger-than-life moments stay with you forever.”
To match the powerful and inspiring imagery, San Francisco Travel collaborated with local and San Francisco-connected musicians to reimagine Judy Garland’s beloved rendition of the classic “San Francisco” song for its campaign video.
“We chose a soundtrack that matched the campaign’s energy and uplifting message and tapped into San Francisco’s legendary local music scene to reimagine the song,” said Bruni-Perkins. “The result is a beautiful artistic collaboration true to San Francisco’s spirit.”
Campaign assets will appear in high-impact media, such as linear TV (traditional TV), connected TV (CTV), and digital out-of-home (DOOH) in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Houston.
The campaign will also have a robust digital media layer through programmatic advertising, video ads, paid social media, OTA partnerships, and earned media. A consumer sweepstakes contest in the U.S. featuring five San Francisco experiences, including an “ultimate” package with exclusive access to attractions and activities, will launch in the coming months.
The domestic campaign runs from May 30 to Oct. 22. Internationally, “Always San Francisco” digital marketing campaigns will run in Australia, India, Asia Pacific, Europe, Canada, and Mexico.
The $6 million+ campaign is funded by a sub-grant from Visit California, a grant from San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, San Francisco Travel, and industry stakeholders.
San Francisco’s tourism industry has steadily recovered since the city’s reopening in 2021. This year, San Francisco Travel has forecasted 23.9 million visitor arrivals and visitor spending of $8.9 billion, an increase of $1 billion compared to 2022.