The Unexpected City Campaign

In 2023 Visit Fort Worth debuted a new advertising campaign called The Unexpected City. Fort Worth will always be Where the West Begins and this campaign promotes all the reasons for visitors to explore our city.

The campaign captures Fort Worth’s bold, warm and welcoming atmosphere and highlights the unexpected sights, sounds and flavors of the city.  

Even with tourism on the rise, research shows the most frequent perception of out-of-state travelers to Fort Worth is “unfamiliar” indicating a low awareness of the destination's offerings. This campaign will bring to light the unexpected attractions, neighborhoods, events and culinary delights Fort Worth has to offer. 

In addition to a new commercial, the campaign includes vibrant new photography that highlights districts and attractions including: the Stockyards, Cultural District, Sundance Square, Whiskey Ranch, the Water Gardens and more.  

Twelve new neighborhood videos showcasing the distinct experiences available throughout the city will complement the campaign. The videos include Southeast Fort Worth, the Northside, Near Southside, Riverside and more.  

When we all come together, we can expect the unexpected.  

About the Commercial  

The focal point of the campaign is a new cinematic commercial featuring the iconic voice of actor Jimmy Stewart from the 1977 short film, The Unexpected City.  

The original film was a gift to the City of Fort Worth from First National Bank of Fort Worth and showcased quality of life, pride in the city, world-renowned cultural district, distinct Western heritage and economic opportunity.  

The film features prominent locals including Steve Murrin, philanthropist Alann Sampson, journalist Bob Ray Sanders, and businessman Charles Tandy, founder of the Tandy Corporation.  

Actor Jimmy Stewart was not only a fan of Fort Worth, he had several local connections. F. Kirk Johnson, Fort Worth Zoo Association Board president at the time, and Stewart shared a mutual love of wildlife and conservation. Johnson and Stewart developed a long-standing friendship that would include global travel and Stewart visiting the Fort Worth Zoo over the next three decades. Stewart donated his proceeds from The Unexpected City to the Zoo and volunteered time to create PSAs.  

Visit Fort Worth’s new commercial captures the spirit of the original Unexpected City film with excerpts of Jimmy Stewart's classic narration, marrying the past with the present. This cinematic spot features the story of three different visitors discovering Fort Worth for the first time and instantly connecting with the people and places they encounter.   


Unexpected City TXMonthly




“Fort Worth: The Unexpected City” - 1977 

A gift to the City of Fort Worth from First National Bank of Fort Worth 

Producer: Jane Schlansker  

Writer: Preston Figley, Witherspoon 


Visit Fort Worth - The Unexpected City Commercial - 2023  

Director: Trey Nelson  

Cinematographer: Boyd Hobbs 

Executive Producer: Chelsea McClintock, Smarty Pants  

Producer: Amy Shand, Smarty Pants  

Visit Fort Worth:  

Tom Martens, AVP of Branding & Creative & Director of the Fort Worth Music Office  

Jessica Christopherson, VP of Marketing & Film Commissioner  


Campaign Photography  

Photographer: Ben Garrett