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Advertisers let freedom ring

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As companies around the world try to get back to business as usual after the Sept. 11 attacks, they are creating new ads that promote patriotism, confidence in the economy and, in some cases, discounts and special offers to boost business.

Immediately after the attacks, advertisers pulled ads and marketing pieces to review their content, both for inappropriate images such as the World Trade Center towers, bombs or references to attacks, or positioning that would be considered insensitive.

And these were not just U.S. companies. Network security software company Camelot IT Ltd., Haifa, Israel, was literally sealing the envelopes Sept. 11 on 6,000 direct mail pieces set to drop the next day when it learned of the terrorist attacks in the U.S.

That campaign was intended to be a three-piece mailer promoting Camelots security software. One piece had a black envelope with a pirates skull-and-crossbones on it. Another featured a picture of a bomb. They were all pulled and are being modified.

"We feel at this time it is absolutely not the time to send it," said Annie Reiss, VP-marketing and communications for Camelot, which went ahead with a print campaign at the end of last month with the tagline, "Doubt is the only way to certainty." [See "New Campaigns," this page].

Other advertisers introduced new campaigns in the wake of the attacks as a show of nationalism, but not necessarily with any campaign goals in mind.

"Forget the business objectives. This is something we just had to do," said Bob Zito, exec VP of the New York Stock Exchange, which rolled out print and TV ads prior to the reopening of the market Sept. 17.

The NYSE TV campaign, created by BBDO, New York, featured scenes of firefighters, police officers, rescue workers and ordinary Americans, to the background music of "My Country, Tis of Thee."

The copy read, "Heres to the human spirit. Heres to courage. Heres to the essential strength of American business and the American dream. Its why this bell has rung for 209 years and will ring tomorrow. Let freedom ring."

The NYSE, which is located 400 yards from the World Trade Center, suspended trading after the attack while damage was assessed and systems were restored.

"For the 85 million investors in the U.S. alone, it was vital to them we were back up and running," Zito said. "We have been here for 209 years, and its our commitment we will be there for them tomorrow."

Some campaigns had much more specific objectives in mind. Many companies started offering discounts to stimulate spending and bring business travelers back. Particularly hard hit in the wake of the attacks were the airline and hospitality industries.

Discounts drive business

Six Continents Hotels, London, which owns Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, broke new print ads last month offering special prices at its New York area hotels, from $109 to $149 a night.

The campaign, created by the Campbell Group, Baltimore, has a tagline "Still open for business" and features New York City small-business employees, from taxi drivers to street vendors, all holding signs proclaiming their businesses are still open.

In developing the campaign, the agency contacted the mayors office in New York to determine what tone would be appropriate for the advertising.

The direction given was that New York depends on people traveling and doing business in the city, said Brian Hall, partner-account director at the Campbell Group. "All the icons of New York really want you to come back and do business there," he said.

Bob Mayer, VP-marketing for Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, said in addition to special pricing, hotels are offering value-added services for business travelers, including a free movie, welcome beverage and breakfast, plus 50% discounts on weekends.

The campaign is already showing results. Mayer said that in its first week, it generated close to $500,000. "Nothing like this has ever happened to the industry," Mayer said, noting that the results so far were "very encouraging.

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