WhittmanHart to aid in ‘I love NY’ revamp

WhittmanHart has been tapped to assist Saatchi & Saatchi with its revamp of New York State’s ILoveNY.com tourism Web site.

Saatchi & Saatchi has been working with the New York State Department of Economic Development on its “I Love NY” campaign since 2007. The site revamp will add a trip planner, social media, search capabilities and other interactive features. WhittmanHart, which had never worked with the agency or with New York State before, won the work in a four to five month RFP process.

“Saatchi & Saatchi was hired by the brand to reinvigorate and revitalize it a little over two years ago,” explained Paul Steketee, VP and integrated managing director for Saatchi & Saatchi. “The biggest thing this fall will be the site because, through our research, we found that 85% of travel panning happens online. So, as part of the full brand relaunch, we’re reinvigorating our online presence.”

He added that Saatchi was impressed with WhittmanHart’s trip planning experience with previous clients and its experience working with other agencies.  

The new site will highlight New York City as well as other cities, state parks and attractions. It is scheduled to go live in late October, as part of a multichannel “I love NY” campaign aimed at promoting tourism across the state.

“The site is really designed to drive tourism, and the features and functionalities they’re adding are meant to highlight the full state of New York, not just New York City,” said Alyssia Leggett, GM of WhittmanHart New York. “We’re implementing a trip planner to help people plan trips from outside the state and learn about other cities and national park. We’re also integrating some social media into it, which will be new, and really streamlining their search to help people find relevant content.”

The Fall campaign will also see a new creative angle, pushing a more “New York” attitude.

“What we’ve tried to do with the campaign is shift to an edgier tone and attitude,” said Lynn Rossi, SVP management director, Saatchi & Saatchi. “There’s definitely that New Yorker kind of feel in the tone and language of all of our advertising, and we found that resonates really well with the target audience.  Even though we’re really selling the whole state, the perception is that New Yorkers have an edgy attitude.”

Adults age 25 to 54 who live within driving distance of the state are the primary audience for the new campaign. Targeting will skew towards women, since they are the primary travel planners in many households.

WhittmanHart has licensed database and CRM company Software Management Inc. to help drive the content for ILoveNY.com. The company’s Destination 3000 tool will also be used to help manage sales, marketing and customer relations.

Steketee said that success would be measured by the level of consumer engagement with the new site, time spent on the site and the amount of leads the site generates for hotels and attractions that it links to.

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