The New York City advertising campaign after 9/11 was “If you see something, say something.” It was a positive program meant to give average folks the courage to speak out against injustices they saw; even just by letting an officer know. New York City after 9/11 really began to feel like a ‘all-in-this-together’ kind of place; a small town almost. The “If you see something, say something,” ad campaign had a lot to do with that. Down in the subways, passing you by on the streets on busses; people just generally felt a lot safer than they ever had before. However there’s a new marketing campaign which uses similar language to a much less desired effect. “If you see something; you’ll be something,” is the campaign and the intention is to get people to go out to a museum or an opera or other cultural attraction in New York City.
But it doesn’t mean anything. “If you see something; you’ll be something” – What?
The Village Voice explains; “…since New York is positively riddled with things to see, seeing them means you’ll be quite a lot. In support of that, the print ads mix images of New York City landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and Yankee Stadium with pictures of all the things you can buy in New York City. So it’s like, aspirational!” (‘sigh!’) If this is meant to draw people into the City, the NYC advertisers should get some new pencils.
According to The Village Voice report, “Bloomberg hopes that these ads will draw 50 million tourists annually to our humble town by the year 2013.” Yeah, I guess for the person sitting in Brookfield Connecticut, feeling bad for themselves, something like images of the Brooklyn Bridge (such an underwhelming bridge; trust me) or Yankee Stadium may want to shake me from my shell.
Apparently, there is no lack of interest in the Big Apple. “So far, tourism is already on the rise, says George Fertitta, chief executive officer of NYC & Company. This is just to keep ’em coming.” I guess tourism is up but Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth can only share the stage for so long and the Mets can only keep winning until September.
Plus, in all seriousness, if the actions already brewing, why come up with such a corny and senseless slogan? Or as the Village Voice asks, “…if tourists are already coming to New York, do we really need an ad campaign? Presumably, everyone knows we’re here, at least, everyone who knows that planes exist. Just imagine if we could put the $1.2 million (not counting in-house campaign creation costs) spent disseminating these new ads into cleaning up all the dog poop on sidewalks in the Village.”
Dog poop be damned, the “If you see something; you’ll be something” campaign trudges on. Just watch where you step.