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A service of The Herald of Everett,  Wash.




Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2002


City images revive that day
Associated Press

SEATTLE — Before Sept. 11, the ad campaign for Grove’s  Dictionaries seemed both whimsical and powerful — the New York skyline was retouched so that two volumes of the entertainment encyclopedia stood in place of the World Trade Center towers.

After Sept. 11, the image was horrifying.

Within days, the advertising agency Partners & Levit had pulled any ads it could and rushed out a new campaign featuring  pictures of famous musicians — and no city shots at all.

"We adopted a totally different concept," Mark Levit said.

 In the months since Sept. 11, countless advertisers, TV producers  and moviemakers have struggled with how to show the new New York accurately, without making people wince.

"Our clients had difficulty trying to figure out, ‘OK, how are we  going to represent New York City now? What does New York City look  like now? What does it mean when you’re looking at the skyline?’ "  said Kimber VanRy, a New York City-based research director for Getty   Images, a Seattle company that supplies photographs and video  footage.

For years, answering those questions was easy. The Manhattan skyline was visual shorthand for New York and could be seen in magazine ads, movie trailers and television credits.

After Sept. 11, the producers of HBO’s "Sex and the City"  requested a new shot — pronto — to replace the twin towers in the  opening credits.

 "Sex and the City" spokeswoman Angela Tarantino said, "Our show  is in the here and now, and it reflects the city as it is."

Before the terrorist attacks, Toys R Us was about to put out a campaign featuring its giraffe touring New York to promote a new  Times Square store. VanRy helped the company with a quickly revamped  campaign showing the giraffe at major landmarks across the country, such as Mount Rushmore.

While many advertisers shied away from New York altogether in the  months after the attacks, many are gradually returning. But instead  of using the skyline, many say they are looking at other landmarks, such as Times Square, the Statue of Liberty or the city’s bridges.

"I don’t think anybody wants to communicate anything that’s  morose or morbid or down," said Danielle Korn, director of broadcast operations for McCann-Erickson World Group. "With a skyline, you  feel the absence of the twin towers."

Her agency has shot in popular neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village or Broadway, where "everything is alive and kicking."

Advertisers also are shying away from the stereotypical "tough guy" images of New Yorkers because they are finding that residents have been changed by the attacks, said Orson Munn, chief executive of the New York  advertising firm Toolbox. Advertisers are instead  focusing on nicer stereotypes about New Yorkers, portraying them as  savvy and sophisticated.

Jack Trout of the Greenwich, Conn., marketing strategy group Trout and Partners, predicted many advertisers will not use New York at all in campaigns, perhaps for several years, until the rebuilding is under way.

"When they start to rebuild, it’ll be symbolic of New York coming  back," he said.


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Copyright © 2002  The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash.