A number of business groups and organizations have joined forced on a PR campaign design to attract more people to downtown Minneapolis this summer.
The "Minneapolis Momentum" platform was launched this week, with various groups collaborating on an initiative designed "to accentuate and highlight the positive stories of people enjoying the city."
For those who have returned to daily activities downtown — dining, exploring the city, shopping, entertainment events — people can now visit the initiative's website and fill out a short "mad-lib" form speaking on their experiences. A photo can also be attached to the submission, with one entry per day chosen and converted into a digital billboard displayed throughout the city.
Other selected entries will be selected to win sports, theatre or concert tickets in Minneapolis, along with vouchers to be used at restaurants and hotel stays, a release states.
Per the press announcement:
"The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to get out and enjoy the arts, culture, food, entertainment and natural amenities of Minneapolis, particularly people do not work or live in the city. The idea behind the campaign is to provide a nudge to get those on the fence to re-engage and experience the city for themselves."
“Minneapolis is gaining momentum as people return to work, the weather warms, and attractions and activities in the city ramp up. Minneapolis Momentum provides a fun platform to showcase real people enjoying experiences only available in Minneapolis,” said Courtney Ries, senior vice president of destination branding and strategy of Meet Minneapolis.
Groups involved in the campaign include the Greater Minneapolis Building Owners & Manager Association, Greater Minneapolis Hotel Association, Greater MSP, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Meet Minneapolis, Minneapolis Downtown Council, and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber.
The city continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were shuttered and more workers opted to work from home rather than heading into the office.
According to a release from the Minneapolis Downtown Council, 56% of downtown workers have now returned to the office "in some capacity" despite the loss of some major tenants in recent years, such as Target reducing a third of its downtown floorspace by exiting the City Center building.
There are signs that Minnesota is recovering more quickly from the pandemic than other states. It's currently tied with Indiana for the third-lowest unemployment rate in the nation (2.2%) as of April. Only Nebraska and Utah (1.9%) are lower.
Prior to 2020, Minneapolis had seen major growth to its economy. The city now faces an uphill climb to get back to where it once was, not least with regards to restaurants, which took a major hit at the start of the pandemic as downtown/North Loop eateries such as The Bachelor Farmer were among the closures.
Major program of downtown events this summer
The PR blitz comes as Minneapolis is gearing up for a busy summer of events downtown.
The Minneapolis Downtown Council is holding its first full summer of events in three years, while the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board has its own slate of activities planned.
To see a full schedule of events happening downtown, visit the Mpls Downtown website. Some highlights include a comedy festival, Rock the Garden, Aquatennial, and more.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is planning a series of "daily activities, weekly classes, music, movies and events" happening at two new downtown-area parks — the Commons and Water Works — throughout the summer season. You can find a full list of them here.
“Downtown is alive with a packed schedule of events this summer, and it is coming at the perfect time with more of our workforce back in the office,” said Leah Wong, vice president external relations of the Mpls Downtown Council. “It is exciting to see busy skyway lines and full patios, and those crowds are also filling our stadiums, theaters, parks and the riverfront for fun outings throughout downtown."