Saved!: The New York Brand

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09/24/2008 12:03 PM |

A $700 billion bailout might not save us. But you know who could? Writers! And journalists! Yeah, those really tired people who stare at blogs all day long.

Today, in a post titled “Gloom, Doom and New York Books” (loves it!) GalleyCat linked to an interesting Times City Room feature by Sewell Chan, who interviewed sociologist Miriam Greenberg about her new book, Branding New York: How a City in Crisis Was Sold to the World. Greenberg’s tome focuses on the 1970s — late in the decade, ads like “I <3 NY" and the Big Apple campaign helped rebrand New York the same way morphing into pop-culture's Mother Theresa rebranded the vial-of-blood wearing, brother-kissing Angelina Jolie.

Greenberg also pointed to launch of a new magazine, founded in 1967, which added a hip varnish to the city’s image and, in no small part, assisted in its recovery:

Under the editor Clay Felker and
its artistic director, Milton Glaser, Dr. Greenberg said, the magazine
"conveyed a hip, urban attitude that was consumer-oriented and appealed
to an aspiring middle class that stayed in the city and still tried to
survive amid these problems — as well as others who might relocate to
the city." The magazine’s obsession with the "power game" — "who’s up,
who’s down" — was part of its portrayal of the city as an exciting
place to be and helped establish the media makers themselves as
cultural power brokers.

All journalists should, from here on in, wear superhero costumes to work. It will totally help build morale!