Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

May 1, 2023

With a new marketing chief, CT aims to refresh its brand this summer

HBJ PHOTO | STEVE LASCHEVER Anthony Anthony, the state’s chief marketing officer, at the Parkville Market.
Anthony Anthony
More Information

Among residents surveyed for a new Connecticut marketing campaign scheduled to roll out this summer, nearly 70% agreed the state has a high quality of life, and nearly 77.6% see it as a great place to raise a family.

Those are solid scores, although state officials hope to raise them. The state’s perception fell sharply on the topic of business climate. Only 45% of 406 respondents agreed Connecticut is an “ideal place to start, grow or move a business.”

State officials plan to launch a $1 million advertising campaign this summer featuring a new statewide brand. It will retire the last vestiges of the “Still Revolutionary” campaign launched in 2012 under former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Importantly, the digital-heavy campaign will aim to bolster not only outsiders’ perception of Connecticut, but also raise and leverage home-state pride. The campaign will be led by Anthony Anthony, Connecticut’s recently named chief marketing officer, a new state government position within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

“I would love to see the public have a greater sense of pride in the state,” Anthony said. “I think the brand is part of that, whether that is the visual identity, or the message that comes with it. I want to increase the number of people who are willing to say ‘Connecticut is a great place to live, work and play.’”

Marketing veteran

Anthony spent nearly two years with Gov. Ned Lamont’s communications team until his appointment in March to the chief marketing officer job, through which he will oversee DECD’s tourism and marketing arms. The $135,000-a-year job was created partially on Anthony’s suggestion the state could better synchronize and modernize its branding and tourism efforts.

“Based on my experience in the Governor’s office and my prior (marketing) experience, I had an interest in telling the story of Connecticut and helping people fall in love with it the way I have,” Anthony said.

DECD Commissioner Alexandra Daum said the new position demonstrates the importance she places on state image as an economic development tool.

Alexandra Daum will be leaving her role as commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development early next year to manage Yale’s real estate portfolio.

“I thought a lot about how we can’t just attract companies and jobs here anymore because people can work from anywhere for the most part,” Daum said. “So, you have to actually make this the kind of place that people are trying to move to, not just companies.”

Anthony grew up in northern Virginia and graduated from George Mason University in 2008, with a bachelor’s degree in government and international politics. He spent about 10 years working in marketing in New York.

In 2019, Anthony took a job as digital communications manager for U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat representing Pennsylvania’s 7th District. He was hired by the Lamont administration in 2021, as senior press secretary and then was promoted to communications director, a position he held for about six months.

Today, Anthony, 37, and his wife, Kara Lightman Anthony, live in Avon with their 4-year-old daughter, Isabel, and 1-year-old son, Julian. Anthony said he has developed such a deep affection for Connecticut he has no plans to leave.

New brand, ongoing marketing

New Haven-based marketing firm O’donnell Co. has been working under a $300,000 contract with the DECD since December to complete research needed for the new branding campaign. Anthony and his staff of seven are using that intel to develop a new logo and other tools to be rolled out this summer.

Anthony said the state has set aside $1 million in federal COVID-relief money for media buys highlighting the new brand. It will include some old-style media, like billboards, but skew toward targeted digital marketing on websites, social media and entertainment streaming services, Anthony said.

The aim is to present a dynamic and forward-thinking brand through mediums that are gaining ground.

The state spent $27 million on its “Still Revolutionary” campaign, but that slogan was dropped from branding efforts in 2019, although the red, white and blue “Connecticut” logo — with a waving flag crossing the last “t” — remains.

That will go away this summer.

Connecticut launched its $3 million “Find Your Vibe” marketing campaign last summer, with a heavy focus on digital media and the first major updates to the state’s tourism website,, in several years.

The new branding campaign will supplement the state’s normal tourism and marketing budget, which is expected to range anywhere from $4.3 million to $7 million depending on the outcome of ongoing budget negotiations.

The budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, is $4.28 million.

That’s a far cry from what was spent on the Still Revolutionary campaign but, officials note, the aims, scope and timelines are different, and the state expects advertising dollars to go further this time with a seasoned marketing pro using targeted digital tools.

“In general, we are always trying to get a bigger bang for our bucks, and I think Anthony’s experience with new media and targeted media means we can get further with that money and get improved analytics,” Daum said. “We are trying to be leaner and smarter with spending.”

Daum noted the rebranding effort will create an identity and tools that can be used and updated in subsequent tourism and marketing campaigns.

“It will be a living and breathing brand that will continue to evolve,” Daum said.

A big focus of the new marketing push will be to bolster home-state pride. Anthony said he aims to create logos and digital icons that residents will adopt and share, driving optimism that will keep people and businesses in Connecticut, while also drawing newcomers.

“I want people to want to buy a T-shirt that has the new logo of the state of Connecticut,” Anthony said. “That’s where I think we need to be going, is to create something that people want to identify with.”

Officials want the campaign to help residents recognize gains the state has made in employment opportunities, economic development, budget stability and business appeal in recent years. That has been a goal consistently on Gov. Lamont’s mind, who used a 2020 State of the State address to call for an end to “bad-mouthing” Connecticut.

“He got a standing ovation for that,” noted Jonny Dach, Lamont’s chief of staff. “Our cup is running over, and people act like it’s half-full. Anthony’s job at DECD will be to change that.”

Daum said she’s heard too many people praise Connecticut’s quality of life, while also offering an almost apologetic admission they understand why others might shy away.

“If there are things that are wrong with the state, we are clearly always looking for feedback, always looking to improve,” Daum said. “But, I also think that a lot of people love this state, and they don’t say it from the hilltops, and I’d love for people to start singing it from the hilltops. And this campaign will do that. It will help put some visuals and branding around the state we all know and love, and help us to synthesize that when we are discussing it with friends inside and outside of the state.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF