BUSINESSES in Edinburgh have lent their backing to a campaign aimed at enticing local residents and people within a two-hour drive to rediscover the city now the protracted tram works are complete.
The £1 million "This is Edinburgh" scheme aims to trigger an extra £50 million spend in the city centre by increasing footfall by 2% above the national average over the next two years.
Backed by celebrities such as Sir Chris Hoy and Martin Wishart, it goes live on Monday with the launch of television, outdoor and online ads highlighting the shops, attractions, nightlife and restaurants the city offers people of all ages.
Residents will also be urged to share what they like about Edinburgh on social media sites.
The ads will run until May and return for a further burst between September and November to drive footfall during the "shoulder months" of the year.
The campaign is being led by Marketing Edinburgh, the city marketing body, alongside the local council and Essential Edinburgh, which operates the George Street business improvement district (BID).
Local businesses are backing the scheme through their membership fees to Marketing Edinburgh and contributions to the BID levy, and will have the chance to get involved in events throughout the year.
Organisers will chart its progress by monitoring how businesses perform against their own benchmarks, with reviews held quarterly.
The Lane Agency brought the campaign to life after a four-way pitch among local marketing companies.
John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, described This is Edinburgh as a "conscious" attempt to woo local residents after the disruption caused by the tram works, which finally concluded last year after starting in 2007.
He called it a deliberate departure from traditional tourism marketing, which has tended to appeal to consumers who do not live in the destination in question.
Mr Donnelly said: "What we strongly believe is that the city should talk for itself, because it certainly has a lot to talk about and is a beautiful place.
"The hero in all the ads is the city centre itself, because the city centre is so strong and it has got so much to offer. And we framed a lot of the creatives in that way."
But the marketing chief emphasised the campaign was not simply about painting a romantic vision of Edinburgh. Mr Donnelly said: "There is a specific business objective that surrounds it. It's not just a warm feeling - it has got hard deliverables against it."