Launching Illinois as the Middle of Everything

The heart of the American midwest, there is so much to do in Illinois. So we had to figure out how to tell everyone Illinois is the Middle of Everything.

The Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT) launched a new state tourism campaign, Illinois: The Middle of Everything, during a time when post-pandemic travel demand had never been stronger.

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Given that this is IOT’s largest campaign at the time and intended to drive tourism recovery following the pandemic, it was an enormously important campaign launch — with high stakes.

Making a big media splash

To accomplish this, IOT had a secret weapon: Jane Lynch, who starred in the campaign’s TV ads.

The Illinois native and award-winning actress — who made her directorial debut with the ads — would need to be a focal point of the launch. The world-renowned Shedd Aquarium, which also appeared in advertisements, was the perfect setting for the press launch to ‘make a splash’ TZO brought the campaign elements to life at the press event with a creative and fully integrated approach:

  • Surprise video remarks from the fabulous Jane Lynch
  • Remarks from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and other key Illinois tourism stakeholders
  • A professional diver inside the aquarium’s reef tank with a “Middle of Everything” sign, making for an incredible photo op, plus larger-than-life “Illinois” block letters behind the speaker podium for additional branding while media filmed
  • Widespread media outreach including a press release,  multimedia assets and “Jane Lynch’s Guide to the Middle of Everything,” featuring the actress’ favorite places to visit in Illinois
  • Surround sound messaging on social media platforms, influencer partners, website and newsletter


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The Middle of Everything, A Massive Hit!

Our integrated strategy and 360 marketing approach, was a smashing success.

Key Results

Earned Media Stories



227 million

Publicity Value

$1.3 million

The Middle of Everything campaign received national headlines in:

  •  USA Today
  • Washington Post
  • Yahoo, Ad Age
  • POLITICO, and
  • MSN
  • Plus features in top regional outlets in Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

Over on social media, the Enjoy Illinois channels experienced an 843% increase in organic social reach within the first week of launch.

The PR team also organized 8 influencer partners who created 36 pieces of content with a reach of 10K.

Social Media Key Results

Social Media Impressions

9.81 million

Total Engagements


Newsletter Opens


Website Referrals


Newsletter Click-Through-Rate


The Middle of Everything campaign played a pivotal role in driving post-pandemic tourism recovery, generating two million incremental visitor trips and contributing an additional $1 billion in revenue.

Every $1 spend on MOE marketing equated to $91 in visitor spending.

Every $1 invested returned $10 in state and local tax revenue.

That's an incredible result for the Illinois Office of Tourism, who relies on the revenue generated by local and state taxes.

Fall Campaign Launch

Illinois is a state for all seasons. There is so much to explore and enjoy all year round. The changing seasons and the changing nature of activities available around our state meant we were able to re-launch Illinois as the Middle of Everything.

Within the first three weeks, our Fall travel stories were featured in 32 earned media placements for nearly 43 million impressions.

The bilingual English and Spanish paid social media campaign served over 12 million digital impressions in the first couple of weeks, and the campaign landing page received over 20,000 sessions.

An Award-Winning Campaign

2022 Mercury Award
 + Best PR Campaign from the US Travel Association

2023 PCC Golden Trumpet Awards
 + Platinum Award Winner for Best Overall Campaign
 + Gold Award for Media Relations - Business to Consumer

Ragan PR Daily Awards Finalist
 + Hospitality and Tourism Campaign Finalist

Want to make a splash with your campaign?

Teamwork is where we excel. At it’s core, the Middle of Everything is a public relations campaign, but where we’re able to excel is bringing in expertise from every corner of TimeZoneOne.

From the creatives designing the artwork, compelling Calls-To-Action, data driven strategy, and more, we bring in the best talent at the right time to deliver an integrated campaign that reaches the people who matter.


Let's Talk

We can help you make a splash, even if your launch isn’t held at an aquarium. Want to know more?

Let's Talk

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