Marcelo Maurizio y Juan Maqueda

Love NY: an icon of almost 50 years that was changed, and generated a lot of noise (from "I ♥︎ NY" to "We ♥︎ NYC")

Marcelo Maurizio y Juan Maqueda

Love NY: an icon of almost 50 years that was changed, and generated a lot of noise (from "I ♥︎ NY" to "We ♥︎ NYC")

In 1977, New York City was going through a difficult financial situation and an alarming crime rate. In this context, Milton Glaser was commissioned to design a symbol to promote tourism in the city. Thus, the famous I Love NY was born, a clean, friendly and simple emblem, which quickly became a pop and carefree icon. Why change it, what a great lesson this courageous change generated, what lessons learned, and what its great critics say about the advertising and graphic design cluster.

Almost 50 years later, this logo is still one of the best examples of city branding in existence today. It has been the symbol of the city for decades, beloved by New Yorkers and foreign visitors alike. So why change it?

The New York authorities have decided to launch a new campaign to boost tourism in the city after three difficult years of pandemic. To do so, they have had to replace the iconic Milton Glaser-designed I Love NY emblem.

But in reality, this is not a radical change. Rather, it is an evolution of Glaser's original logo, a shift from the individual - "I" - to the collective - "we". Thus, the iconic I Love NY logo is replaced by We Love NYC.

The main objective of the campaign is to mobilise all those people who love New York to spread the word about what makes this city unique and revitalise it in every way. To this end, several digital outdoor advertising activations have been developed in emblematic places such as Times Square, Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium. There are also press activations in the most relevant newspapers: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and New York Magazine.

All the We Love NYC pieces try to encapsulate the essence of New York and what it means to be part of the city. For example, the graphic communication of the campaign relies on the use of emojis, international symbols that are understood in any type of culture. For this reason, the independent Founders Agency has developed a collection of emoticons representative of the city, an open process that allows the creation of new emojis according to the requests of the citizens.

In addition, one of the objectives of the campaign has been to involve citizens in the promotion of the city. To this end, artists from By The New York, a network of independent agencies, have been asked to help create a series of posters that represent what New York means to them. This initiative invites other artists in the city to create their own posters, which will be displayed on the campaign's official website and on social media.

In addition, the campaign also includes a 30-second spot highlighting the city's tourist highlights, such as nightlife, street food and theatrical performances. This spot has a Spanish version and is being broadcast on various digital and TV platforms.

Despite all the efforts made in the new campaign, it seems that it is not producing the expected results. In fact, the headline in The New York Times reflects the negative criticism of the new logo: "These New Yorkers don't ❤️ the 'We ❤️ NYC' logo". Many people have criticised Glaser's typographic adaptation of the new logo, which has generated some controversy.

In response, artist Ryan McGinness has offered his own version of the logo to improve its topographical adaptation and, hopefully, improve public perception of the new logo. In addition, a call has gone out to other artists in the city to join in the creation of posters and advertising that reflect what New York means to them.

From "I ♥︎ NY" to "We ♥︎ NYC". The author finds the shift from the individual to the collective curious, as well as the appearance of the new logo. "I ♥︎ NY" is a personal, proud and defiant statement, and the author considers that it perfectly reflects the mood of New York. In contrast, "We ♥︎ NYC" appears to have been written by committee, and the author finds it lacks the same strength and personality. In addition, the author points out that Glaser's original work was based on his own memories and experiences, while "We ♥︎ NYC" seems to be simply an echo without a solid foundation.

The author stresses that defining a city's brand is not a trivial task, especially in the case of New York, a tough and complex city. Glaser's original design has been imitated and ripped off in recent years, demonstrating its impact and quality in the city. The author doubts that the new logo will have the same relevance and recognition in the future, and bets that "I ♥︎ NY" will still be a reference in popular culture, even 50 years from now.

What did this campaign show? That it is not enough to do what a plan dictates, optimising costs and coordinating relevant actions, nor is it enough to generate a concept with an adequate campaign, with a good media mix.

Today and always it is necessary to do everything necessary for a campaign to be successful and that implies today, normally much more than what is being invested in every sense.

In terms of equipment, time, media, experiences, investment, events, co-creation, we are falling far short.

The boom of doing everything fast, online, by meta, by google, "focused" has disconnected us terribly with human reality, with the anthropological, emotional, morphological, sociological, psychological knowledge of communication.

Advertising needs much more advertising. Media needs much more media, events and experiences need ground.

Creation equals investment of more time, more listening, and more tact than what the new accelerated media "planning" is recommending.

The first thing to do is to work much more on the physical, sensory, activities, really cross experiences. Work on public relations.

The advertising media and designers, as many media claim, are a very critical cluster, very egomaniacal, paradoxically very closed. But isn't art the same, isn't the environment of theatre and cinema the same, isn't the world of classical music the same?

It is clear that this creative environment is destroying the whole change of logo and this sector somehow feels the need to defend, to defend symbols, personalities, more artisanal, bohemian forms that were part of a glorious culture that seeks the natural and deserved revaluation and that in many cases had for its time and for its "freedom" a mystique of talent, that today, is not respected, is not valued and that it is clear that the common sense criterion has been asked for in the face of the hyper-speed of the whole implementation imprint driven by the dynamics of apps and the online world. 

Creatives and designers are the validated influencers of this issue. It is also obvious that common people, cling to traditional things, which are always perceived as better, except when very "astute" industries, such as music, have really managed to impose in massiveness current products and developments that clearly have a decrease of elementary components of quality, based only on rhythm and aesthetics, minimising melody and harmony, pillars of quality and creativity in that art.

Published in. Infonegocios Miami

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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