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Shop Local Chicago

Entered in On a Shoestring


Small businesses are the heart of neighborhoods. With over 54,000 licensed businesses across Chicago’s 77 diverse and vibrant communities, the business community contributes significantly to the overall economy and quality of life. Additionally, when consumers shop locally, they are directly supporting the growth and sustainability of their local economy.

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) ensures a fair and vibrant marketplace for businesses, workers, and consumers in the City of Chicago. BACP licenses businesses and public vehicles, regulates business activity, protects consumers from fraud, enforces Chicago’s labor laws, partners with business service organizations, and provides education and resources for businesses.

Historically, BACP celebrated small businesses on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. As the City of Chicago recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, it became pivotal to recognize small businesses and all they do for communities. According to the 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, $0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community and that every dollar spent at small businesses creates an additional $0.48 in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services. Therefore, BACP launched Shop Local Chicago, a comprehensive marketing and communications campaign to encourage Chicago residents and visitors to shop and dine at local businesses. BACP wanted a campaign that does not focus on just one day, but each day of the year. 


To assist in post-pandemic recovery of the business community, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) took on the effort of launching a campaign with a unified message, reminding Chicagoans to shop local.

One of the biggest obstacles surrounding the campaign is its categorization as change behavior marketing. The primary goal was not to was that the campaign didn’t just focus on raising awareness, it was to motivate people but to change changing their engrained purchasing behavior. We had to persuade, remind, and reinforce the audience of the campaign.

We designed a comprehensive two-fold strategy for the Shop Local Chicago campaign which started with creating minimalist yet compelling branding to be used online and offline supported through owned channels and partnerships to keep campaign cost at zero while having an extensive reach across the city.

The key message became the tagline for the campaign, “Shop Local Chicago.” The primary audience is over 2.6 million Chicago residents plus visitors while the secondary audience is 55k+ licensed Chicago businesses and 1.4 million Chicago workers. The campaign has three main objectives:

  1. Increase traffic to Shop Local Chicago webpage during peak holiday shopping months i.e. November to January.
  2. Increase social media followers by 10% during aforementioned timeframe.
  3. Strengthen partnerships while building brand awareness through distribution of marketing materials.

All efforts were performed with a $0.00 budget and three 3 employees working on the campaign, among other priority programs and projects.

It was imperative to create recognizable branding through eye-catching marketing assets to grab people’s attention. BACP adhered to City guidelines while developing a brand centered on simplicity. Keeping with our minimalist theme, we picked the Campaign name “Shop Local Chicago” so it could also be used as a call to action and a tagline.

Online Tactics:

Offline Tactics:


The evaluation of behavior change, in this case shopping and dining locally, requires long-term evaluation with monitoring of key performance indicators. To begin, BACP focused on the results of its intended objectives:  

To further emphasize the success of the Shop Local Chicago campaign, testimonials from Chicago businesses, consumers, and workers have expressed gratitude for the launch of a campaign unifying and promoting the city's small business community.


Video for Shop Local Chicago

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection


Entry Credits