In early October, Visit Stockton launched a bold and defiant brand campaign for the city and surrounding region. Themed #StocktonTrue, the campaign owns the city’s adversity and lets people know, despite the negative perception of the city, Stockton is on the rise. Located along the California Delta, Stockton enjoys refreshing delta breezes, a vibrant waterfront, a rich farm-to-table scene and, the campaign argues, an unjust mountain of negativity. Forbes.com once ran an article about Stockton with the headline, “One of the most miserable cities in America just got more miserable.” The article alluded to the national financial crisis years ago where bankruptcy threatened to overshadow all the positive aspects of the city. “Every city has challenges, but it is what you do in the face of those challenges that matters. We have chosen to positively react to those who try to bring us down with what they say. Stocktonians are creative, resilient, and have pride for their city. The #StocktonTrue campaign embodies who we are,” said Visit Stockton’s CEO Wes Rhea. Visit Stockton, whose mission it is to promote the city as a tourist destination, has faced serious branding challenges for many reasons. As Rhea put it, “Situated in a destination rich area of Northern California, where travelers find themselves drawn to places like San Francisco and Yosemite, we have been known in the past as a city you pass on the way to your destination. Our goal has been to engage with travelers and educate them on all that Stockton has to offer.” Visit Stockton decided to tackle these problems head-on with the help of FourthIdea, a branding and creative firm specializing in travel and hospitality advertising, and Tempest, an integrated digital marketing agency that has scores of clients in the destination marketing space. From their collective efforts a new brand, website, and digital campaign was launched that daringly puts all the negative reviews the city had received front and center with impactful imagery that defies the preconceived notions some still hold about Stockton.