N.Y. Tourism to Saatchi

NEW YORK The Empire State Development Corp. has hired Saatchi & Saatchi to reinvigorate its 30-year-old “I Love New York” tourism effort, the state said.

This year, the state has budgeted $16 million for the campaign, which will include TV, print, radio and Web ads. Saatchi, a Publicis Groupe shop, was selected after a three-month review involving six other undisclosed shops.

The New York agency will handle creative and media planning duties; sister shop Zenith Media will handle media buying. The previous lead agency was independent Eric Mower and Associates in Albany, N.Y., which had the account for three years and did not participate in the review.

“We need to show potential tourists that there’s more to New York than simply New York City,” said Dan Gundersen, upstate chairman of Empire State Development. “Think of the boon to the upstate economy if only a small fraction of visitors to New York City extended their stay and spent as little as a single day upstate.”

The assignment is for three years, with options to extend the contract for another two years after that, according to the state’s initial request for proposals.

New York City’s lead agency for tourism marketing is Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty here. The city selected BBH in November after a review in which Havas’ Arnold and Interpublic Group’s Lowe were also finalists. Billings on that account are estimated at $15-20 million.