Not All New Yorkers ♥ NYC's Fresh Rallying Cry

Initiative tweaks a classic campaign

What's that we hear ... Bronx cheers?

A multifaceted campaign seeking to unify residents across New York City and stoke community pride instead began generating snark shortly after its launch. Some folks blasted the design aesthetic and tone or questioned the need for such an initiative in the first place.

How quintessentially New York is that? So gruff!

The effort dropped yesterday from the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, with agencies including Founders tweaking the state's famous "I ♥ NY" slogan and heart logo to: "We ♥ NYC."

Since the 1970s, millions have come to recognize "I ♥ NY" and its graphic identity, the latter created by Milton Glaser and an iconic staple of countless tourism ads. According to press materials, the NYC iteration, with a TV spot, print, digital and OOH, is designed to serve "as a rallying cry to support the post-pandemic resurgence of the city and it’s neighborhoods, taking a 'we' not 'me' stance."

What's more, it "celebrates what makes NYC great and empowers New Yorkers to show their love by getting involved."

"We ♥ NYC" launched yesterday at a media event hosted by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams. Billboards are already in heavy Times Square rotation, and the push introduces 30 emojis depicting the Statue of Liberty, bagels with lox, folded pizza slices, Yankees caps and other elements of the city that never sleeps.

Cynics finding fault flocked to the webs in fairly predictable yet oddly endearing fashion. Perhaps they ♥ NYC so darn much, they felt compelled to chime in. Maybe they're just cranks. It's all grist for the mill, producing a fresh round of buzz (though clearly not as intended).

Alas, some level of discontent was inevitable, as variations on classic campaigns frequently stir controversy. Last month, non-dairy Silk's Gen Z nod to foamy mustaches and "Got Milk?" proved polarizing. The U.S. Army appears to be faring better with its return to "Be All You Can Be." Though in that case, the service branch originated the line, which most folks still associated with the Army even though it hadn't appeared in two decades.

Meanwhile, "We ♥ NYC" invites local artists to submit poster ideas, and the campaign features wild postings from the international agency group By The Network.

Click the images to enlarge:


Lead Creative Agency: Founders
Lead Campaign Consultant: MaryamB
Lead Media Agency: Grain Group
Client: Maryam Banikarim, Andrew Lerner, Debra Goetz
Founder & Chief Operating Officer: Tanya De Poli
Founder & Chief Creative Officer:Checha Agost Carreño
Creative Team: Katie Reid, Kristen Mizushima, Martin Alfred, Felipe Rostagnol, Angel Cedeño, Agustina Rodriguez, Camila Barrera, Shake Turton, Meghan Smart, Ezequiel Rivadeneira, Anibal La Torre.
Head of Production: Delfina Lamino
Head of Strategy: Alma Berruecos
Lead Project Manager: Emma Tonetti
Digital Strategist:Nahir Schumacher
Digital Project Manager: Agustina Matijas

By The Network Wild Posters Artists:
Angel Cedeño, Alan Wesley, Juan Ghab, Yossi Lemel, Shake Turton, Maxi Macdonnell, Bozhidar Ivan, Vessela Karapetrova, Fabian Olaya, Lucas Fernandez, Manya Scheiss, Ezequiel Rivadeneira, Agustina Rodriguez, Faye Larkin, Emanuela Belovarski.

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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