I Love New York Redux

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New York tourism officials are going with what works. The iconic I♥NY ad campaign is being revived with new television commercials aimed at bringing tourism dollars to New York City and the state.

“The economy is down. We are competing with many other states for tourism dollars. We have been competing well for those dollars, but we need to continue to promote our brand. Our brand is our state,” says Dennis Mullen, CEO and chairman of Empire State Development.

The new commercials feature actors Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and celebrity chef Rachael Ray, and are meant to promote arts, culture, fine dining and entertainment. The commercials are aimed at New Yorkers, as well as tourists, who spent $46 billion statewide in 2009, down from $53 billion the year before.

The ads mix together shots of upstate and rural locales with shots of New York City. The creators and promoters hope they will encourage people to venture outside of the five boroughs on vacation, or staycations.

“Yes, you can go to any state in the country, to visit and have a good time, but only for a day,” says Bob Giraldi, the director of the TV spots. “Here is a place you can really expand. Here is a place where you can go and see and do unlike any other state in America.” 

The two thirty-second spots and five shorter spots will begin airing on hundreds of JetBlue flights starting September 1. They will also be shown during the New York Jets postgame show on Sports New York. The campaign will expand into other media markets around the state and nation in the coming months.

Giraldi took inspiration from older iterations of the I♥NY commercials, the last of which was broadcast in 2006. He could have decided on an edgy newer version, he says, but chose to draw on tradition and even used the music from the original 1977 commercials. In a down economy, he says, he wanted to make something positive.

“There’s two words. Hope and joy,” Giraldi says. “It moves. It has a rhythm. I just wanted joy.”

Watch the old I♥NY campaigns here.

Watch a clip of the new video: