© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New York to bring back iconic tourism ad campaign

Governor Andrew Cuomo is attempting to revive New York’s iconic "I Love New York" tourism promotion campaign with some new ads.

The governor says the state not been aggressive enough in its promotions in recent years.

The "I Love New York" campaign, with its distinctive logo featuring a red heart, was a major advertising and promotional innovation in the 1970s, when it was created.  In fact, says Governor Cuomo and his top economic development aids, it was too successful, and countless other groups and causes have adapted the now iconic image.

“It’s actually been ‘borrowed,’ let’s say,” said Cuomo. “And we in some ways we lost the very brand that we’d created.”

Cuomo’s economic development agency hired an advertising firm to refresh the image.

David Lubars with the advertising agency BBDO, explains that in place of the heart, the ads will feature sketches, solicited from the public, depicting a New York vacation spot that they particularly like to visit.  

The spots feature drawings of images like Niagara Falls,  horse racing at  Saratoga, and Finger Lakes wine. In the ads, the pen and ink images dissolve to actual footage of those locations.

The state will spend $5 million dollars on television ads, as well as on social media. And members of the public will get to participate, too. There will be a contest to submit more drawings of favorite New York summer vacation spots.

Cuomo says tourism promotion in the state has languished in recent years, and he says spending money on the TV ads, as well as social media and other promotions, will more aggressively boost what is the state’s number three industry.

“It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Cuomo. “And tourism is big business for the state of New York. Period.”  

Peggy Coleman, president of the New York State  Destination Marketing Association, says it’s been a long time since the state invested money in tourism.

“The tourism has been waiting for the state to sponsor a campaign of this size and quality,” Coleman said.

Governor Cuomo says he once again plans to take his vacation in New York, but he says he won’t be appearing personally in any of the ads.

After former Governor George Pataki featured himself in a number of  promotional ads for the state, including ones to increase enrollment in government funded health care for the poor, the legislature banned the practice.

“Not that I wouldn’t have been a significant attraction in the ads, ” Cuomo said with a laugh.

The governor was joking, but he may have reason to think his presence in an ad could boost tourism, a Quinnipiac poll found Cuomo has the highest approval rating of any governor since after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.