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CityCenterDC Launches new Marketing Campaign – “District of Joy”

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm 63 Comments


Ed. Note: In December the Post wrote, “D.C. got everything it wanted out of CityCenterDC — except the crowds.

Also Uniqlo, where the hell are you?!??!

From a press release:

“CityCenterDC, the 10-acre, landmark, mixed-use development located in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. today premiered a new marketing and advertising campaign that reflects the vibrant, one-of-a-kind experience residents and visitors have when visiting the project.

The campaign, all shot onsite at CityCenterDC, focuses on the energy, place and design that make up the three city blocks that have enlivened Downtown D.C. with world-class shopping, dining, and events. The tagline, “District of Joy,” is built around the five senses to show how the simple pleasures of everyday life become extraordinary at CityCenterDC. Whether shopping or sipping red wine, everything is more delightful, more delicious, and more joyful at CityCenterDC.

“The concept behind The District of Joy is to transform your same daily routine into a new daily experience. The art direction for the film is inspired by the refined fashion and film of the days gone by; but for our interpretation there was no holding back. The best way to describe ‘District of Joy’ is that it’s a mash-up of the West Side Story and The Wizard of Oz! The District of Joy is a burst of visual experiences – colorful, bold, and full dancers to showcase the many unique offerings at CityCenterDC.” Pum Lefebure.

The focal point for the bright, whimsical campaign is a 2:00 minute video featuring local dancers from the Washington Ballet. Choreographed by Septime Webre, who served as artistic director of the Washington Ballet for 17 years, the video brings the “District of Joy” concept to life through a myriad of vibrantly dressed dancers experiencing all that CityCenterDC has to offer. The video is available to view on the newly refreshed CityCenterDC website (www.citycenterdc.com) and the campaign will appear in print, online, mobile and outdoor channels along the East Coast.

“Hines/CityCenterDC is excited to engage with the amazing creative community here in D.C.” said Whitney Burns, Director of Marketing for CityCenterDC. “With the help of Design Army, I think we have created an exciting, fresh campaign that not only celebrates the experience of CityCenterDC and all it has to offer, but of Washington, D.C. as a whole.”

  • Stan

    #SoDoSoPa #ShiTiPaTown

    • Anonynon


    • PetworthGuy


  • Not Impressed

    These are pretty stupid, especially spaghetti-girl.

    • kanon

      +1. The half-open mouth is really disturbing.

  • Anonymous

    I hate these. So much. Viscerally.

    • Margrave of Mt. Vernon

      I wasn’t sure if there was a section of town catering to my vapid needs. Now I do. Thanks Yachts!

      • James W.

        I feel part of my soul being sucked out every time I walk by this place.

  • Elkhaert

    So I can totally let my dog sit at the table with me at DBGB, right?

  • SaraEP

    I usually like Design Army’s work but this is cheesy.

  • Blithe

    “District of Joy” sounds like a creepy Old Time Square porno joint. Not that there’s anything wrong with that– but I’m guessing that the “vibrant, one-of-a-kind” experiences that they’re trying to market have a somewhat different slant?

  • Michael Pierce

    Just like OneperCenterDC itself, these ads are wholly unappealing.

  • John B.

    I might actually step into some of those stores if what they’re selling cost about a quarter of what it does now. Clearly I’m not the target demographic, but I have to wonder who is, as I rarely see anybody in any of these stores.

    • NotGrinchandNotScrooge


      I can just imagine the developers’ pitch: “We’re going to take what normal people like about Rodeo Drive, showrooms full of unattainably expensive consumer goods, and locate in the middle of legal office buildings. Also, we’re going to have $10-a-cup gelato and a fountain in which children regularly disrobe.”

      • Margrave of Mt. Vernon

        Will there be a Pokemon Gym?

        • anon

          important question!

  • bll

    the pattern of the spaghetti woman’s sweater looks like she has one nipple.

    • Dognonymous

      She also has the same haircut as Table Dog.

      • bll

        two for one special at supercuts, but that’s a secret between you and me.

  • This is very Hunger Games a la the Capitol of Panem.

  • LittleBluePenguin

    Yuck. Even if I was a Midwestern tourist in DC and knew nothing about City Center DC, I wouldn’t step foot near it based on these ads – I would figure (rightly) that it was mostly composed of outrageously expensive shops and restaurants trying super hard to seem relevant. It’s fine if these are going in the advertising pages of Vogue or Vanity Fair, but let’s not pretend they’re anything other than what they are – ads. They’re not art. I’ll reserve my judgement of the Washington Ballet’s dance on this subject, since I can’t watch videos at work, but overall, this whole campaign is just weird.

    • starburststop

      Not sure if you read the article but it says this is a marketing campaign and not art. Thank you for stating the obvious. Water is wet. Water is not art.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        Uh, thank you but I did read the article and am perfectly aware that this a marketing campaign. I just hate the artsy pretentiousness of the photos and the smarmy press release. Like I hate most marketing campaigns.

  • MBS

    This got built while I was out of the city for a few years and I knew nothing about it, but lately have had to walk through a few times to meet a colleague. It’s a total ghost town, at seemingly any hour on a weekday. Weekends different? Shops, restaurants, walkable outdoor space–all empty. Very curious use of downtown real estate.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a place for Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds to reliably park some cash. They DGAF so long as they can liquidate the site for a profit in 20 years. Any near term profits are just gravy.

      • Mr. Magoo

        This makes sense for the real estate itself, but what about the stores? Louis Vuitton seems to do reasonably well, but most of the other stores are always deserted. Maybe they got huge rent concessions going in, but eventually I would think that they will have to generate some cash flow. Or are these mainly loss leaders so at least the chains can say they have an outpost in DC?

        • Blithe

          I haven’t shopped there — yet. But since several stores moved from their Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights locations to CityCenter, wouldn’t multiple businesses have done whatever they would need to do to assess their potential for profitable sales in addition to any rent concessions? Or is it enough to have their outposts in and identified with a “hot”, new shopping area?

        • ET

          Their kids go to GW/Georgetown????? an RJ Matson book a few years ago about the time he was still at Roll Call who had a chapter on the “Shahs of Georgetown” which I am always reminded of when I think of those from from the the Middle Eastern countries being in D.C.

        • Anonymous

          Frankly, I think most of the shoppers are wealthy students, diplomats, foreign business visitors, and IMF/WB employees who want to pick up some tax-free gifts before heading home. A lot of these products incur massive tariffs in their home countries. And previously, they had to shlep to Tysons Corner and Friendship Heights to buy this stuff. So yeah, it’s essentially a play ground for the kids of those sovereign wealth funds to buy crap….an incestuous circle of money where they built this complex for their own progeny. Bizarre.

          • Anon

            Why is this “bizarre”, exactly? Seems perfectly rational to me.

  • Anon

    These ads reek of some sort of a “my soul is nigh” sentiment. I think they’re perfect here.

  • Love

    I actually really like these. Love the colors, and the video is AMAZING! Very creative and different from what other centers are doing…which is refreshing.

  • deejay

    I really don’t understand all the negative comments about this development. I don’t have the disposable income to afford most of the retail there, but I have made a couple of small purchases. I’ve tried eating at all of the restaurants, and while I wouldn’t necessarily go back to all of them, I’ve really enjoyed Fig & Olive, Momofuko, Centrolina, and DBGB. Even if you don’t want to spend money on their food, having a glass of wine or a cup of gelato from Dolcezza around the plaza is good people watching. It’s a beautiful space, and the digital archway screens are really cool.

    I actually stumbled upon them shooting this ad campaign last fall and wondered when it was going to be put to use. I think it’s fun, quirky, and definitely catches the eye. Oh well….guess haters are going to hate. :)

    • JMR


    • James W.

      Nobody is hating on the restaurants so much as the waste of tens of thousands of square feet of ridiculous retail shops that seem perpetually vacant of foot traffic. Not to mention the pretentiousness of passing off your boutique as “art”, especially in a city that hosts dozens of legit museums.

    • stacksp

      lol Some of these millionaire homeowners obviously have the disposable income but probably spend elsewhere.

      I have a coworker that spends thousands of dollars on comic books as investments, friends that are into fashion, others into cars, and others that just booze away all their disposable cash.

      Everyone has their own vices or things that create happiness. For some its, luxury goods and the great thing about DC is that is has just about everything you can ask for to accommodate everyone’s preferences and taste.

  • B

    Popville – You got this so right with your commentary, asking where is Uniqlo. Instead of putting in decent, unique shops where people actually want to buy things and that would serve to make this area a destination (Uniqlo, Superdry, any of the unique, mid-priced shops by 9th and U), they decided to put in luxury stores where no one, really ever shops or at least buys anything. I find this are so uninteresting, and have no reason to ever go there.

    • jaybird

      I agree. My fear is we end up with Nordstrom Rack or other discount retail and a CVS/Walgreens in 5 years.

      • logandude

        Why the hate for CVS? They’re actually useful, unlike what is there now.

        • Hill Denizen

          Why the hate for Nordstrom Rack?! Also useful, especially for the young professionals on public servant salaries.

          • jaybird

            No hate. Just saturated.

  • Ick

    I detest these ads but can’t quite put my finger on why. I think it is the rigid plasticity of the whole things, like these people are just engineered props to get me to put money someplace. This just seems soulless and…gross. Yes, the spaghetti lady is gross. The fake hair, the dead eyes, the noodle. Very upsetting.

    • wdc

      Maybe because everyone, including the poor dog, is photoshopped past normal human parameters? Maybe the designers were just trying to make them look skinny (you CAN be too skinny, btw), or maybe they were going for “disturbing and alien.”
      Either way, I’m with you. Hate it.

    • Anonymous

      Dead eyes, all of them. I hadn’t noticed the inhuman thinness until wdc mentioned it, though. Maybe that’s what creeps me out so much.

    • eggs

      The dog’s eyes are the most lifelike thing in these pictures.

  • More Like Shitty Center!

    Now I feel like watching the Black Hole Sun video.

  • LittleBluePenguin

    Also, is it just me or does it look like that man is dating his dog? Like, that looks like a creepy couple on a creepy date.

    • Wuff

      It doesn’t help that they picked a silky long-haired Afghan Hound as his date. Gives me flashbacks to Mallory Archer and Duchess.

  • Haters Gonna Hate

    I don’t get why everyone is so upset. If you can’t afford/don’t like luxury retailers…DONT GO! These retailers are never going to be packed with people, many of these store’s best clients never step foot in the store, they are sent items to choose from. DC has plenty of more affordable options, so stay away from City Center and go there. No one is forcing you people so do anything. I guess you’d rather have a parking lot that brings no tax revenue into the city. To each there own.

    • Haters Gonna Hate


    • lizcolleena

      Where are these affordable options you speak of? The DC area is full of pretentious wealthy options like this – Georgetown, Friendship Heights/Chevy Chase, Tysons – but there’s very little for the middle class.

      • Haters Gonna Hate

        H&M, Forever 21, Ann Taylor Loft, Saks Off Fifth, Nordstrom Rack, TJ Max, Target, Gap…..etc etc

        • Blithe

          Many of the affordable options are right in Friendship Heights, including several that HGH mentioned: World Market, Old Navy, H & M, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, DSW, the Gap, and Nordstrom Rack. And I think the neighborhood should get extra credit for Rodman’s. As for “pretentious wealthy options” , there are a few. But many more expensive purchases can give excellent value compared to less expensive options once you factor in the price-per-wearing.

    • anon

      +1. All DC residents should be overjoyed that we stole this type of shopping area from Friendship Heights. The same people are going to make the same purchases, but now the taxes stay in DC. Also, the disconnect between the GDON posts (where everything is pushing a million) and the I hate city center luxury goods posts is hilarious–DC housing is a luxury good.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I think the basis for the disconnect is that most of the current actual population of DC is not made up of people who can and did pay $1M+ for their homes and desires to shop at places like CityCenter. CityCenter is a glaring sign of what DC appears to aspire to become, i.e., a place that caters to the uber-wealthy. I mean, my run-down house in Takoma has appreciated by perhaps $100K or so since I bought it. What am I supposed to do, take out a HELOC so I can go to CityCenter and buy an overpriced meal and a $75 t-shirt?

        • Haters Gonna Hate

          No one is forcing you to shop there are they?

        • anonymous

          Nope..You just continue to do you -and let those people who shop at these places do them. What attracted you to Takoma- would probably sway someone away from there. Live and Let live…If people were bashing you for your decision on moving there how would you feel?

          • anon

            When it comes to bashing the practice of conspicuous consumption, I say bash away.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m not bashing sh!t, just responding to the comment, “Also, the disconnect between the GDON posts (where everything is pushing a million) and the I hate city center luxury goods posts is hilarious”

  • MadMax

    I love CityCenter, hate these ads. And Uniqlo really doesn’t make any sense in this area with the audience they’re going for.

  • Anon in NW

    While I get that the retail at CityCenter isn’t exactly mass-market, I also think it’s disingenuous to say that DC lacks affordable shopping alternatives when Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack, Off 5th, H&M, Gap, and Forever 21 (just to name few) are within blocks. Why can’t we have both? I also think the retail stores there cannot be doing that poorly considering only one has closed (Alexis Bittar) and that space was re-leased within a month, with new lessee (Eagle Co.) being an offshoot of an existing tenant (Great Republic). To each his own…

  • c2b16e

    I can’t believe all of the negativity here! These ads are extremely style-forward and just a touch cheeky- completely on-point for the audience City Center is trying to speak to. The video is pretty fun too, especially given that the client here ultimately is Doha.


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