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AWNewYork_OfficialGuide-2017

Advertising Week 10th Anniversary Official Guide

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My memories from that morning are still vivid. Over the years that followed, I wondered if I could bring myself to visit the site and re- engage with that day. The answer I gave myself was generally "no." Eventually, I told myself that maybe I would visit the memorial, but not the museum below it. Before I could muster the strength to visit, I was contacted about a job at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to lead the institution's mar- keting efforts. This position was one I did not take lightly. I knew it would be difficult for me to be surrounded daily by the story of 9/11, but I ultimately joined the institution because I felt that properly pro- moting such a meaningful place would be a special responsibility. The museum is unlike other New York City museums in some sig- nificant ways—for one, it is situated at the site of what many people feel is the most traumatic day in American history. Because of this, it is a place many people feel a great responsibility to visit while some are more anxious about visiting. I found that the museum was attracting tri-state residents at a significantly lower rate than other NYC cultural institutions. Perhaps locals felt this anxiety and hesitation more than others? I expected that many felt as I once had about visiting. Through market research, our team concluded that many New Yorkers did not feel ready to re-engage with 9/11. They had already lived through it, and for many, that was enough. In fact, there were a great number of locals who intended to visit the museum but were just not ready. Both a challenge and an opportu- nity: How do we get arguably the most discerning audience in the United States to engage with possibly their most trau- matic experience? As New Yorkers ourselves, we knew this had to be done with sincerity and authenticity. The strategy of the "Our City. Our Story." campaign recognizes that everyone over a certain age has a 9/11 story and those who were in and around New York City have a firsthand account. This concept gave us a strong foundation of community and identity around which to build a campaign. We wanted to gently remind New Yorkers that the 9/11 Memorial & Museum represents their city and their story. We also saw this group as a critical component of our audi- ence and their engagement was greatly important to the health of our institution. We then identified a key image that would capture this narrative. Our head of creative, Shanell Bryan, recommended the image of the Statue of Liberty replica artifact which, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, stood outside the Midtown firehouse of Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9, a firehouse that lost 15 of its men at the World Trade Center. While in front of the firehouse, countless people covered the statue in uniform patches, miniature American flags, money, mass cards, rosary beads, condolence notes, souvenir postcards, angel figurines and other mementoes. It was a striking image of the iconic statue, whose mementoes represented her injury but she still had her strength, representing the resilience of our city. Accompanying this key image to be used in print and out of home, we wanted strong video content that told this common New York story of hesitation to revisit 9/11, but take it a step further in placing the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as the next chapter in this 9/11 story. To do this, we found hesitant New Yorkers and in- vited them personally to the museum. We filmed an initial interview with each person explaining his or her feelings about visiting. The reluctant New Yorkers would say, "It's always in the back of my head that I should go, but…" and "I'm not sure it's going to teach me anything." AW2017 197

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