Big Apple Tells Magical Tales

NEW YORK Giant floating hot dogs in the sky. A waving Statue of Liberty. Yankee Stadium with slices of pizza the size of the infield.

It’s all part of a new $30 million global integrated campaign from Bartle Bogle Hegarty here for NYC & Company, a government organization that promotes the city as a tourist destination.

In “The Ride,” a 60-second spot, a magical New York is shown erupting with animated exaggerations of what makes the city such a compelling place. As Ella Fitzgerald sings a remixed version of “Take the A Train,” people stare from cab windows as an amazing landscape rolls by. Along with the wonders mentioned above, a mammoth piece of cake and a fork are seen atop the Flat Iron Building, a pair of car-sized red Manolo Blahniks cross the street and fashion models parade on a crowded sidewalk. The commercial closes with the tagline, “This is New York City.”

This is the first time the city is branded with a slogan. (“I love New York” referred to the state.) However, Kevin Roddy, ecd of BBH, explained, “We didn’t want to invent a snappy advertising line, we wanted to present New York to people.”

The spot will run in Spain, Ireland, France and the U.K., as well as on the History Channel in the U.S. In addition to the one TV spot, the campaign includes print, out-of-home elements, banner ads and a redesigned Web site,

For interactive, the client partnered with Google to develop an application that lets people discover what kind of New Yorker they are—and suggests activities based on that analysis.

Banner ads with cartoon drawings of famous New York icons and the words “Plan your experience” will run on sites such as Google, YouTube and Expedia.

“It’s a competitive marketplace and our job is to get New York to the forefront of people’s minds,” said Jane Reiss, evp, chief marketing officer, NYC & Company. “We set out to create a level of inspiration and a sense of urgency.”

In August, the client launched a campaign focused on New Yorkers, also from BBH, that highlighted local residents and the cultural activities they like to take part in.

“It’s interesting when you try to express what New York City is on a two-dimensional screen. If you believe that this is the greatest city in world, how do you do that?” asked Roddy. “It’s not about telling people that, but making people feel that.”