Omnicom Shops Break WTC Effort

NEW YORK Three Omnicom Group agencies have launched a national ad campaign designed to help raise $170 million toward the building of a New York City memorial and museum to honor the victims of the World Trade Center attacks five years ago.

Tagged “It’s time,” the pro bono effort includes a television commercial, a radio spot, five print ads, five outdoor executions, banner ads and a “resurfacing” of the Web site for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation ( The New York office of TBWA\Chiat\Day produced the TV, radio, print and outdoor ads; PHD in New York negotiated free media placement; and in New York handled interactive tasks.

The first phase of the campaign juxtaposes images of makeshift memorials created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks with the message, “We needed one then. We need one now.”

The TV spot, directed by Joe Pytka and cut in 30- and 60-second versions, depicts men, women and children carrying personal mementos of loved ones, such as a rugby jersey, teddy bear and photograph of a German shepherd, and adding them to a growing collection of objects on a city sidewalk. Shot in Letterbox format and backed by spare piano chords and strings, the spot ends with screen copy directing viewers to the foundation’s Web site.

“We gathered together to leave notes, photographs, candles and other personal artifacts,” said Gerry Graf, executive creative director at TBWA\C\D in New York. “These personal memorials created some of the most powerful positive images of those days. By referencing those images, ‘bringing objects’ evokes the spirit of those memorials.”

Lee Ielpi, father of Jonathan Ielpi, a New York firefighter who died on Sept. 11, provided a voiceover for the radio ad.

Phase one broke Thursday and continues through August, when a second phase tied to the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks begins. Phase two will ask the question, Where were you on 9/11? and use the theme, “Look Back. Move Forward.”

More than 40 media outlets—including The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, affiliates of Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC TV, The History Channel, Lifetime, Infinity, Clear Channel, Time Warner and Meredith Corp. —donated time and space for the ads.

The campaign was unveiled Thursday during a ceremony at the Tribeca Film Center in New York. Among those in attendance were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor George Pataki.