“I Love NY” Logo is Dropping its Iconic Heart

In an effort to boost summer tourism and promote New York’s numerous attractions and vacation destinations, the state’s iconic heart logo is receiving a makeover. The heart in the logo will be replaced by various images associated with the state, from a pizza slice to a rollercoaster. The symbolic shift is part of a new $5 million advertising campaign that taps into the popularity of social networking by encouraging the public to contribute drawings that illustrate their favorite things in New York. TheStar.com reported on the reasons and responses to the logo’s transformation.

“This campaign reinvents one of our state’s great assets — the “I Love NY” icon — which is known the world over as one of the most successful advertising symbols ever,” according to New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. “This campaign brings that icon to life in order to highlight all of the things people love about New York.”

The move to mess with a symbol that has been so powerful and memorable for 40 years is a risky decision and some tourism experts question why it needs to be changed it all.

“There is no reason to tweak it for NY,” said Ryerson University professor Gabor Forgacs, who teaches hospitality and tourism. “It is not smart to change branding visuals or logos that had built awareness, a key component of brand equity.” He has personally seen his city of Toronto struggle to visually brand itself and doesn’t understand why New York is throwing away its highly valuable visual identity.

Despite the dissent, the seven-week TV campaign is being rolled to markets within a six-hour drive of New York, including the Canadian hubs of Toronto and Montreal. While the “I Love NY” logo has not been included in television commercials in the last few years, the new ads will make the logo the focus by asking viewers to submit sketches of their New York favorites by visiting iloveny.com. An online gallery will display all of the entries.

While the ad campaign is devoted to increasing summer tourism, some expect the concept to be carried over into other seasons, especially since New York tourism brought in $53.8 billion in 2011 and generated $6.9 billion in state and local taxes.

For now, it remains to be seen whether tourists will love changing the “I Love NY” logo.

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Read more at The Star.