BBH New York has created a new campaign for NYC & Company, the official tourism organisation for New York, in a bid to attract yet more tourists to the city (the aim is to entice 50 million visitors annually by 2015). The campaign, based around the tag This Is New York City, encompasses television, print, online and outdoor advertising, as well as a new logo by Wolff Olins, which will be used in advertising, promotional materials, as well as on New York taxis.
With the campaign airing in such diverse markets as the UK, Ireland, Italy and Spain, as well as domestically in the US in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and San Antonio, the ads focus on creating a family-friendly feel, pitching New York as a exciting, frentic fairground of a city. While this is a gripe that many New Yorkers may have about the city's image post Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg's considerable clear-up of its grittier edges, as so often is the way with these campaigns, those actually living in the city may recognise little reality in the tourism-friendly campaign.
"We wanted to capture the excitement of a NYC visit at its most direct and joyful," explains Andrew Nathan, group account director at BBH New York. "NYC resists easy definition: it's just so big, diverse and dynamic. What makes NYC so unique is that it's just so much more. No other city can offer the same kind of things as NYC and with such breathtaking combination of scale, range or energy."
For the TV ad, BBH New York brought in Motion Theory to bring the illustrative feel of the posters to life (the spot can be viewed here). "We turned to the expressive power of animation, using it to dramatise how fully alive NYC makes you feel," continues Nathan. "The amplified visual approach finds its counterpoint in our language, which uses understatement to make definitive claims of superiority: This Is New York City."
The NYC logo has been created by Wolff Olins and has already proved controversial, a position no doubt familiar to the company following its much-reviled 2012 Olympics logo. Its rather messy use on taxi cabs has proved a particular concern, leading to a lengthy critique by designers in the New York Times. "In my opinion, you don't need to have the NYC logo on the cars as well to make something that should be simple more confusing. A simple type that you read instantly and the yellow cars should be iconic enough," was Oscar Bjarnason of Systm's verdict, an opinion that appears to be shared, in rather less polite terms, by the NY Times bloggers.
This is a fantastic campaign, I love the illustration.
Really makes a difference from your typical holiday destination ad.
Although aesthetically pleasing to NYC natives, I tested the ads on colleagues visiting for the first time from our branch offices. Their reaction: "ugly", "hideous", "makes me want to run away and go somewhere else", "flashbacks of some of the scary movies about nyc coming to life in print".
I hope they do market testing before launching. But then again the ads might have a beneficial impact. As a nyc lifer, the prospect of 50 million visitors coming through my already crowded tiny island is frightening. If they scare off people it might be a good thing.
wow, those are awful. if that's the campaign nyc officiall adopts, i may have to move.
Haven't they already lauched it? I see it everywhere throughout the city already. Not a big fan of the W/O NYC logo...yet...we'll have to wait and see... Makes you wonder how, after all the outrage of the London Olympics logo, does W/O get asked to do another major rebrand...
I just love it. This is so graphic. Is it possible to buy some posters for example because I'd really like to have the whole campaign on my walls!!.
Christine from Paris
To the NYC "lifer" who regards the tourists as a nuisance and an unnecessary element in his/her life, consider researching the amount of money that NYC makes from tourism and what it means in the way of your taxes and livlihoods.
I wonder what neighborhood you live in where you aren't constantly afraid of being mugged, stabbed, or harassed by street hooligans. Only a cynic would ever say they'd want to live in a "grittier" NYC that harkens back to the 70s.
I say that despite the controversies of the aesthetic of these ads and projected tourist initiatives, let the tourists keep flowing in. We have enough xenophobes in this political climate and NYC is in a very unique position to buck that trend.
As a european I am more concerned about the security "harasments" on US-airports that make think if should or shouldn't come over. Obviously a problem an ad-campaign can't fix.
Well, the posters: Disneyland with a twist?
Wasted opportunity IMO
How often do you get to rebrand something so ubiquitous? clunky, clumsy, squashed are a few words that spring to mind when I look at those horrible letterforms, again bad typography (Olympics typeface) it just looks strange and applied to the Taxi's well that just looks like a car crash (excuse the pun) I'm not keen of any of WO's last three high profile jobs… Olympics, Wacom, NYC… all seem a trite too awkward!
The campaign fails to deliver the two fundamental rules of effective advertising: namely, find reasons why a product or service are uniquely attractive to a target audience, and then communiciate them in ways that compel/movitate purchase. So we can talk about rebranding and creative nonsense until the streets are empty and quiet, and it really wouldn't matter. The ads in this campaign don't distill the real, tangible reasons why NYC is such a unique place to visit, but instead morph a menu of attributes into incomprehensible and generic content (fashion can be found in any city, as can food, for instance). And then there's nothing compelling in the artsy cartoon treatment that says 'you need to visit this place now.' Tourism is about getting bodies onto airplanes and into hotels. I'm surprised this campaign ever got past the bright bulbs that should have been vetting ideas against this simple deliverable. I've written a bit about it, along with what NYC & Co. could have done differently, at DIM BULB http://dimbulb.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/10/extraordinarily.html.
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