He British, long among the United States' staunchest allies, are reaffirming their support of the country and New York specifically with a two-week citywide festival of cultural and commercial activities backed by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.
The festival, which was three years in the planning, will run from Oct. 14 through Oct. 28, featuring more than 225 events, many of which will be free. Organizers of the festival, which was originally called UKinNY, decided it was vital that the festival still take place after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. However, they renamed it UKwithNY and canceled some activities, like a gala and travel sweepstakes, that were deemed inappropriate.
"Everybody felt we shouldn't walk away from something that would do a great deal of good in New York," said Peter J. Bates, president of Strategic Vision, a consulting firm based in Miami that is managing the festival. "But we strongly felt we needed to change the name to reflect what happened. The new name shows we are working alongside and with New York, not just coming in from the outside."
The festival grew from efforts, begun in 1998, by British American Business Inc., formerly the British American Chamber of Commerce, to raise the profile of British businesses in New York. Philip Warner, president of the jeweler Asprey & Garrard and the festival's chairman, said the goal of the festival was to "build on the positive attributes of Britishness, one that would highlight the innovative aspects of the United Kingdom and capture the imagination of Gen-Xers."
This collage of British images will be a part of the festival UKwithNY.
Though the goal remains the same, Mr. Bates said that since Sept. 11, "the tone and manner of conducting the campaign have changed."
The festival's advertising was created by the New York office of M& C Saatchi, based in London. Almost all advertising, worth about $3 million, was prepared before Sept. 11; most has been redone. The new text reads, "Britain's desire to stand side by side with New York is now greater than ever," and it calls the festival "a tribute to the close relationship on both sides of the Atlantic."
Robert Fletcher, chairman of M& C Saatchi New York, said the new name and copy "reflect quite a switch in the way we see this."
"The words of support and solidarity are more front of mind than they were previously," he added.
Festival sponsors which include the lead sponsor British Airways, as well as HSBC Bank USA, MasterCard, the Travel & Leisure group of magazines, Reuters, BBC America, Hilton (UK and Ireland) and various British government and business organizations have donated $3 million of the festival's $10 million budget. None of the sponsors dropped out after the attacks, Mr. Bates said.
The festival's centerpiece will be a $1.4 million interactive exhibit in Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal. Created by the Design Council in London and called "Great Expectations," it will feature 100 examples of British design and innovation from advertising and new media to architecture and fashion.
Retail promotions will take place at the Manhattan outlets of British retailers like Asprey & Garrard, Burberry, John Lobb and Thomas Pink, and at Bergdorf Goodman.
In addition, more than 100 cultural events will be sponsored jointly by about 120 British and New York arts and educational institutions. Among the events are an opening night concert by the Ulster Orchestra, screenings at the Museum of Modern Art of British films and award-winning British television commercials, and BBC America programming broadcast on WLIW, the Long Island-based public television station.
In addition, a conference on urban culture and regeneration will be sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the Van Alen Institute, a nonprofit organization that promotes public architecture; and the British Council, a government agency that promotes British culture overseas.
In the campaign supporting the festival, the most eye-catching of the graphics is a colorful collage of British images depicting everything from Big Ben and a pint of lager to a young disc jockey and a Damien Hirst sculpture. The collage will appear on telephone kiosks throughout Manhattan and in advertisements in newspapers like The New York Observer and The Financial Times. It will also run on the shuttle train between Grand Central Terminal and Times Square, along with ads that tell riders to "Go as a chick, leave as a bird," and "Come as a dude, leave as a lad."
Other outdoor advertising will include a banner promoting the festival on the bridge above Pershing Square and a British Airways billboard near the Manhattan entrance of the Midtown Tunnel that says: "Our thoughts are with you. And during UKwithNY, so are our artists, musicians, actors, scholars, singers, playwrights and dancers."
Magazine advertising will include inserts in Avenue and The New Yorker that were revised after Sept. 11, and inserts in the three Travel & Leisure magazines.
TV advertising includes a 10-second spot that will run starting tomorrow on Time Warner Cable channels in New York and a 30-second spot created by BBC America to run nationally. BBC America's original advertising, which had a contemporary flavor, first ran on Sept. 17; it will be replaced this weekend by a spot with poetic images of New York and London.
JANE L. LEVERE, The New York Times October 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.