A familiar logo is brought back for N.Y.'s $17M marketing push


NEW YORK -- The famous "I [heart] NY" logo, memorialized on millions of touristy white T-shirts, is making an official comeback as the state's tourism marketing slogan.

New York's governor, David Paterson, and the Empire State Development Corp. last week relaunched the 31-year-old "I Love New York" brand, which has one of the world's best-known, and even most-copied, logos.

New York state is "reclaiming" the brand from New York City, with which it has been most associated, especially in the wake of 9/11.

Along with the relaunch is the first major changes to the iconic logo, but even then, it is not all that major. There was no toying with something that works, officials indicated.

In print ads to appear in magazines and in Web banner ads, readers will see the familiar "I [heart] NY" with tiny enhancements. For example, one iteration of the logo appears with the profile of a tiny squirrel atop the "Y" and a tinier butterfly opposite over the "I," one to illustrate fall in New York and the other to illustrate summer, said Tom Ranese, chief marketing officer for Empire State Development.

In another version, the heart comes with purse strings to indicate shopping; another features a tiny profile of grapes hanging off the "Y" to signify food and wine; and a third uses a miniheart beside the larger heart to signify that New York state is a family destination.

Narrative in the ads also reflects the "New York voice," Ranese said. For example, in a magazine ad to debut in July, vineyards are promoted with ad copy that includes: "To succeed here, the wine has to be just as good as what the city offers. It's taken hard work and sleepless nights. Did I grow the best grapes? Did I check every vat? Did I leave the oven on? Neurotic Vineyards."

The $17 million campaign is designed to set the state on a course to increase its 155 million tourism arrivals in 2006 to 200 million by 2020 and bring direct spending up from $47 billion to $60 billion.

Paterson said the state put things in motion by increasing its tourism promotion budget by 54% as of 2006 and adding Ranese as a marketing chief last year.

He said New York was such a great destination "we shouldn't need a campaign. But other states are rigorously pursuing this market, so we have to go back to the type of campaign launched in 1977. That campaign flourished."

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].


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