Oakland Airport wanted to build its passenger traffic to justify the cost of its future expansion plans. In the late 1990s, the Oakland Airport was positioned as San Francisco's most convenient airport. Although this was an effective positioning, it was not enough because people didn't feel Oakland had enough flights to where they wanted to go. The San Francisco Airport was the automatic first choice in most people's minds because it had a long history of having the most flights.
To change people's perceptions it was decided to reframe the brand to promote its three key advantages: convenient location, more than 200 daily non-stop flights, and low-cost fares. Instead of being just convenient there were now multiple reasons to think of Oakland Airport as a major regional airport – not just local to the East Bay. To promote this new positioning the theme "Smart Choice" was used as a tagline and as the Dominant Selling Idea in all its branding communications programs.
Partially as a result of its rebranding, Oakland International outgrew its facilities. In 2005, 14.5 million passengers used the airport – far more than the airport’s designed capacity. As a result, its expansion plans were started in 2005 and will be completed in 2007-2008. The most significant result of the rebranding is that now, for the first time, most of the people in the tri-county area consider Oakland Airport their first choice.