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Wilmington launches campaign to reshape public image

The City of Wilmington has launched a PR campaign to change public perceptions of the city.  

The “It’s Time” campaign includes two promotional websites, two YouTube channels, several social media platforms and a videoportraying Wilmington as fast-paced, heavy on cultural attractions and packed with young professionals.

“We’re a pretty entrepreneurial young town, we’re trying to attract young people, we’ve got a thousand apartments being built, they’re getting filled as quickly as they build them,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “And so we just want to recharacterize the way they think about us."

Purzycki says the campaign is an effort to counter perceptions of the city as violent— and appeal to local suburbanites.

“We want them to see all that’s wonderful about this city and tell them, statistically, factually, empirically that the city’s a very safe place.”

Purzycki cites the 2014 “murder town” articlein Newsweek as contributing to a “stubborn” reputation.

Another part of Wilmington’s image that Purzycki says he wants to debunk is that it’s “corporate.”

“When you cross the country people have an impression that we’re a corporate town, that it’s very expensive to live here.”

But the rebranding has had significant corporate support.


According to city officials, funding for the PR campaign came primarily from the private sector. Corporate partners including Barclays, Capital One, CSC, Epic Research, Incyte, JP Morgan Chase, Chemours and WSFS contributed over half a million dollars.

The City has pledged $70,000, and the State pitched in $250,000. The Mayor says he anticipates the City contributing more money as the advertising campaign continues over the next two to three years.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.