BBDO Wins ‘N.Y. Open for Business’ Marketing

Prevailed in state review

Looks like New York State has a new ad agency: BBDO, with a mandate to do as much for attracting business as “I Love New York” has accomplished in wooing global tourism.

A State rep, Austin Shafran confirmed the Omnicom shop was unanimously selected to handle the “New York Open for Business” global marketing push recently launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo. BBDO prevailed after a fast-moving RFP process in which the agency beat out other undisclosed finalists. An RFP went out Aug. 25; responses were due back by Sept. 16, and by Nov. 4 directors of the Empire State Development Corp. were scheduled to vote on approving contract negotiations with BBDO

Negotiations are still under way for a two-year contract with BBDO. Over the course of two years up to $50 million has been set aside for "Open for Business," Shafran said. According to the RFP, there is an option of two additional one-year renewals.

Cuomo has made it clear he wants to improve the state’s image as a place to retain and attract new businesses, with the RFP describing the situation as: “New York’s reputation as an attractive environment to do business has suffered greatly.”  In August he launched the “Open for Business" marketing initiative and announced the formation of a committee of business leaders headed by execs like Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn; Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express; Deutsch chairman Donny Deutsch; and Ogilvy & Mather chairman Shelly Lazarus.

Earlier in April, Harvey Cohen, a former FCB creative director, was appointed vp, marketing of the Empire State Development Corp. In addition to working at multiple agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Ally & Gargano, Cohen has been a consultant to Andrew Cuomo and worked for his father Mario Cuomo as a senior media advisor who led the state’s "I Love New York” effort from 1982 to 1984.

In 1977, Wells Rich Greene was tapped by the state to create that iconic work along with New York graphic designer Milton Glaser who developed the accompanying logo. (Glaser, who reportedly expected the campaign to last just a couple of months, did the work pro bono. The State began licensing the logo in 1994 and took in more than $1.83 million in licensing fees in fiscal 2011.)

The campaign, which made New York a global destination, remains the benchmark of success for the state. According to the RFP: “Ultimately, the ['Open for Business'] Committee hopes the New York State Open for Business’ marketing effort will do for New York’s business image and reputation what the world-renowned 'I Love New York' campaign did for travel and tourism—develop a new, very big idea that is both emotionally compelling as well as intellectually persuasive.”