Mayor Bloomberg Revamps NYC's Marketing Plans

Sets Goal to Lure 50 Million Visitors Annually

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As New York's first chief marketing officer exits, Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg is revising his approach to how the city markets itself.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to boost the number of city tourists to 50 million annually; currently just under 40 million visitors come to New York each year.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to boost the number of city tourists to 50 million annually; currently just under 40 million visitors come to New York each year.

'Big plans'
"The mayor has big plans," said outgoing CMO Joseph Perello, who joined NYC Marketing in April 2003 and is leaving June 1 to become exec VP at Masterfoods' Health and Nutrition division.

Mr. Bloomberg is expected to expand the model launched in 2003 with the creation of the New York City Marketing office, which was designed to promote New York City around the world and to centrally manage the city's brand and marketing assets. The goal, then, was to build a strong brand image for the city, and attract investment, talent, consumers and visitors as well as generate revenue.

Goal: 50 million visitors a year
In the future, Mr. Bloomberg wants NYC Marketing, as well as its partner NYC Big Events, to work more closely with the city's convention and visitors' bureau, NYC & Co. He hinted at this vision in January, during his State of the City address, stating that in working together, their goal is to "create the best marketing and promotion effort serving any city in the world." The city has committed an additional $15 million annually to these groups to better enable them to compete with other cities in attracting visitors. The goal, according to the mayor, is to bring 50 million visitors a year to New York by the year 2015. The city received 39.9 million visitors in 2004, according to NYCvisit.com.

Asked how these groups will cooperate, Paul Elliott, the mayor's deputy press secretary, refused to provide specifics. "In a matter of weeks an announcement will be made on how the entities will work together," he said. He declined to say whether a replacement for Mr. Perello will be named at that point, and said no decision has been made as to who will run NYC Marketing after Mr. Perello departs.

Controversial Snapple deal
Under Mr. Perello, a former executive with credit-card issuer MBNA who also spent three years in business development for the New York Yankees, NYC Marketing developed corporate partnerships, secured advertising space from city-owned media assets and negotiated licensing deals. One of its earliest efforts -- a deal giving Snapple exclusive rights to sell its beverages at city-controlled buildings in exchange for marketing and promotions deals that benefit New York -- sparked controversy.

Its main critic, City Comptroller William Thompson, argued that the deal was negotiated improperly. A judge in the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court in 2005 found that the deal was valid, but said the contract was not properly certified before vending machines were installed on city property. Earlier this year, after sales of Snapple beverages fell short of projections, NYC Marketing and Snapple renegotiated the terms of the contract to reduce the number of vending machines placed in various city agencies to around 1,000, from 35,000. Sales were expected to reach $36 million over five years, but after two years, the projection was revised to roughly $2.4 million.

"The vending aspect was too ambitious. Actually finding vending placements in city agencies was hard," said a Snapple spokeswoman. "We have expanded the marketing aspect of the deal. It's a great opportunity to partner with our hometown."

Marketing progress report
NYC Marketing in a progress report issued in May reported it secured $32 million in new sponsorship revenue and $50 million in promotional exposure through fiscal 2009. In addition its agreement with Snapple, other deals included underwriting large-scale events, such as the 2005 Country Music Association Awards, which involved securing 14 brand partners to underwrite the event; signing New York City as host of the Latin Grammy Awards in November 2006; inking a partnership with Universal Studios to host the global premier of "King Kong" in New York; and increasing the share of advertising space available to the city from privately-owned franchisees from 3% to 20%.
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