‘4-Star City’ campaign calls attention to homelessness in Chicago

Launching Friday, a new integrated ad campaign seeks to create awareness and empathy for Chicagoans who cope with homelessness while living on the street.

Developed pro bono by marketing communications firm MARC USA, the integrated campaign plays on Chicago’s popular 4-star city flag. One of the best-known and most visible city flags in the country – found on businesses, front porches, T-shirts, and even tattoos – Chicago’s 4-star flag promotes the city’s capacity to offer a top quality of life.

The “4-Star City” campaign features 30- and 60-second videos running as broadcast and digital PSAs, with print and outdoor versions.

Kicking off at the start of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the campaign contrasts Chicago neighborhoods that most people would rate “4 stars” with the “half-star rated” viaducts and street corners that serve as home for Chicagoans who live on the street.

Each piece notes Chicago’s reputation for hospitality and proclaims: “Let’s make Chicago a 4-star city for everyone.” The call to action urges support for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, which employs legal and public policy advocacy to prevent and end homelessness.

Matt Sullivan, SVP, Senior Creative Director at MARC USA, explains the inspiration for the campaign.

“You see the 4-star flag flying everywhere in the city. Everyone looks up at it with pride, but few look around to see that for those who are homeless, this really isn’t a ‘4-star’ city. We wanted to activate Chicagoans to think about homelessness and support efforts to make a difference… especially as we get closer to winter.”

CCH Executive Director Doug Schenkelberg adds, “We are so grateful for MARC USA’s work to put a face on homelessness in our city and create awareness of our efforts toward long-term change for the more than 80,000 homeless people here. “

About MARC USA  

MARC USA is a national full-service integrated marketing communications firm. With offices in Boston, Chicago, Miami and Pittsburgh, it is one of the largest privately-owned agencies in the country. Dedicated to work that makes a difference, other public service initiatives include Know No, which raises awareness of sexual consent; Girls Inc.; and DreamShip, which supports families of fallen and disabled service members.  Agency services include advertising, strategic planning, research/analytics, public relations, social marketing, media planning and buying, digital marketing, direct and marketing and business innovation consulting.