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Get ready for San Francisco’s APEC summit marketing blitz

Promotional material on bus stops around San Francisco showcase APEC 2023’s new slogan and description. | Source: Courtesy Mayor's Office

This November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit may not mean a lot to San Francisco residents’ daily lives, but the city wants everyone to know that it’s actually a very big deal.

Two months ahead of the event, the city is kicking off a campaign to inform residents of the gathering of world leaders from 21 Pacific Rim regions, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and—potentially—Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The massive rollout includes ads on dozens of bus shelters citywide. The slogan is simple: “APEC is going to be EPIC.”

Priya Clemens, press ambassador for the San Francisco Host Committee for APEC, said the campaign is to let San Franciscans know about the weeklong event, which runs from Nov. 12-18.

“It is the first time this event has been held in the United States in more than a decade,” Clemens told The Standard. “San Francisco will be front and center on the world’s stage.” 

APEC was held in Honolulu in 2011, and San Francisco has never hosted before.

It’s unclear whether the city will place ads on billboards and TV in a Shen Yun-style promotional blitz. Clemens said bus wraps and banners will be appearing in the coming weeks. It’s also unclear what the campaign’s total budget will be. Two months out, the city has raised about $11 million toward a goal of $20 million for APEC—considerably less than the splashy touring dance performance spends on its ubiquitous ads every fall and winter.

The city is also soliciting volunteers to help with the events in various roles, including helping delegates or guests navigate the city and at the conference center, credentialing and registering.

Han Li can be reached at

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