In terms of marketing catchphrases, Chicago may say it's "second to none," but Illinois' biggest city actually is second to Aurora.
The slogan "Chicago: Second to None" was unveiled Tuesday by the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau as part of a new marketing campaign.
But Aurora has been billing itself as "A City Second to None," since Mayor Tom Weisner first campaigned for office in 2005.
Weisner said he is flattered by what he called the bureau's imitation of his city's slogan, but Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau officials say the words best fit Chicago.
"Perhaps it's not totally original," Weisner said. "But they're borrowing our slogan, which simply tells us that, indeed, we are 'Second to None' if we have a big city like Chicago copying one of their smaller neighbors."
The bureau was aware Aurora uses the "second to none" phrase, but saw no ownership or trademark issues, said Warren Wilkinson, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau.
The phrase now may be in use in Illinois' two biggest cities, but Wilkinson said Chicago's global nature places its use of "Second to None" on another level.
"No disrespect to Aurora, but Aurora is not Chicago," Wilkinson said. "I think Chicago speaks for itself as a global destination."
Chicago will begin using the slogan in an international context to indicate Chicago should be considered among destinations like London, Paris or Tokyo as one of the top cities in the world, Wilkinson said.
"We decided that we would shed that 'Second City' moniker and go with a phraseology or a tone quite frankly of 'Chicago: Second to None,' a very bold and confident voice for the city," Wilkinson said.
For the bureau, the "Second to None" phrase replaces its previous slogan "Make no little plans," attributed to urban planner and architect Daniel Burnham.
And in Aurora, the phrase has caught on well since the 2005 campaign, Weisner said.
But Alderman Rick Lawrence said the slogan is not an official city motto, nor is it something aldermen voted to approve. Lawrence said as far as he's concerned, Chicago can take the "Second to None" phrasing because "A City Second to None" is Weisner's phrase, not Aurora's.
Still, many in the City of Lights use the slogan, and it's posted several times on Aurora's website, including on Weisner's biography page and in the text of his most recent State of the City address.
"We're a city that's constantly striving and has accomplished very much in terms of being second to no one, whether it's in Illinois or anywhere else in the country," Weisner said.
Alderman Scheketa Hart-Burns said Aurora proves its "Second to None" status by continuing to attract companies and jobs to the city during a tough economic period.