The Downtown Halifax Business Commission launched a rebranding campaign Thursday, portraying a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that too many suburbanites are missing out on.


The ads encourage people to “tell a better story” by not rushing home as soon as the five o’clock whistle blows, but sticking around to check out a game, try a new restaurant or dance with a “hot German tourist.”


“We wanted to have something international,” said Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the DHBC. “You’re at the game, you’re at the Metro Centre, but you’re also getting something to eat and later seeing a jazz trio from New Orleans.”


The first phase of the Extreme Group’s campaign will aim at keeping commuters downtown after work. Later phases will look at repopulating the downtown and promoting the eclectic shopping side of the city.


The ads run with the tagline: “Where the Maritimes Meets the World,” seeing Halifax as the entry point for visitors to the region as well as reflecting the port side of the city.

“Most people have a really good feeling about Downtown Halifax. We don’t often hear, ‘I hate downtown,’” said MacKinnon. “It’s mostly, ‘I haven’t been there for a while, I should go back.’ The product itself is an easy sell.”

One ad shows an empty parking space with the words: “After work I went for Thai food, ran into an old friend, saw a band that’s about to become huge and danced with a hot German tourist.”

Under that it urges people to “Tell a better story than ‘I left this space at 5:30 to go home.’”

Other ads, which will run on bus-stop shelters and be written on elevators, tell of people enjoying the waterfront and spotting co-workers buying sex toys.