As the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, nears, a campaign is getting under way to help build awareness for the memorial museum devoted to what happened that day at the World Trade Center.
A new ad for the 9/11 memorial.
Work continues on the NationalSeptember 11 Memorial and Museum at the ground zero site and it remains on track to open next spring, officials say. The project had been delayed by the effects of Hurricane Sandy as well as a dispute between the museum and the owner of the site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The campaign carries the theme “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever.” There will be video clips; print, digital and outdoor advertisements; and an extensive presence in social media like Facebook, Google Plus,Pinterest and Instagram. The campaign’s presence can also be found on Twitter andYouTube.
The campaign is being financed by a combination of paid and donated media. The ads were created on a pro bono basis by BBDO New York, part of the BBDO North America division of BBDO Worldwide, owned by the Omnicom Group.
Soon after 9/11, BBDO New York created a memorable public service campaign for the mayor’s office, which carried the theme “The New York Miracle. Be a part of it.” The campaign featured celebrities identified with New York, like Woody Allen, Yogi Berra,Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller and Kevin Bacon, and Barbara Walters, whoencouraged tourists to visit the city during that first Christmas season after the terrorist attacks.
Mr. De Niro is also part of the new campaign, narrating two video clips that are to be shown on screens in Times Square and stadiums like Citi Field as well as on ESPN and WABC-TV. In one video, Mr. De Niro declares: “On that day, a nation became a family. With nearly 3,000 loved ones lost. On that day, after witnessing the worst, we embodied the best. On that day, we came together. We were all New Yorkers.”
The spot concludes with Mr. De Niro asking, “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever” and directing viewers to the Web site.
The second video starts with Mr. De Niro saying: “Take a day to pause. Take a day to reflect. To explore. To learn. To honor the best in humanity that overcame the worst. To remember compassion. Kindness. Courage.”
The second spot also ends with Mr. De Niro asking, “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever” and suggesting that a $10 donation be made to the museum, which is costing an estimated $700 million to build.
The campaign comes two years after pro bono ads that featured Mr. De Niro along with Mr. Crystal, in their capacities as members of the board of the museum. That campaign, which appeared a decade after 9/11, asked Americans to “honor, remember and reunite.”
That theme “really worked well for a 10th-anniversary message,” says Lynn Rasic, executive vice president for external affairs at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. “We decided with the 12th anniversary that we wanted a new campaign, a campaign that would look forward to the opening next spring.”
The campaign is meant to let people know that “wherever they are” on the anniversary “they can share in the commemoration,” she adds.
“As we get further out, we still have a collective responsibility to commemorate 9/11,” Ms. Rasic says. “Those who were alive and remember have a responsibility to teach.”
“One of our goals is to connect with a generation that’s growing up now that may have no firsthand knowledge of 9/11,” she says, adding: “That’s the core mission of the museum. We need to tell this next generation about the history of 9/11, the enormity of the loss and how we came together.”
That is reflecting in one of the print ads in the campaign, which depicts a young girl holding several flags. “Remember,” the headline reads, “and teach the ones too young to remember.”
The interest in reaching out to youth, says Michael Frazier, vice president for communications at the museum, is a reason “we work very hard to build out our social platforms.”
“Through our various social networks, we are not only engaging younger generations to participate,” he adds, “we are exposing them to a history that some are unaware of, providing context for a better understanding.”
The public service campaign for the museum in 2011 was produced internally and distributed to the media under the aegis of the Advertising Council. This time, Ms. Rasic says, the decision was made to turn to BBDO New York because of the agency’s “history of contributing,” particularly on the “New York Miracle ” ads, which she calls “a tremendous campaign that showcased the indomitable spirit of New York.”
At a breakfast that took place in the spring, executives of BBDO New York said they would “be happy to help us develop a new campaign to raise awareness around the opening of the museum,” she adds.
John Osborn, president and chief executive at BBDO New York, recalls that he had “the good fortune of working with Phil on the ‘New York Miracle’ campaign,” referring toPhilip B. Dusenberry, the agency’s longtime creative leader.
“It was one of those unique times,” Mr. Osborn says of the period after Sept. 11, 2001, when “people offered a helping hand and there was no limit to their generosity, to putting self-interest aside.”
The new campaign, like the one from 2001, was “put together by a group of people in New York and people who were touched by the events that day,” he adds, a thought that is evoked in one of the outdoor ads in the campaign, which reads, “Remember the day your city became your family.”
The goal of the campaign is “less about countering forgetting” what happened on 9/11, Mr. Osborn says, and “more about our responsibility to motivate people to remember, based on what the events meant to them.”
“It’s a call to action, to listen, to engage, to understand the full impact,” he adds. “Implicit in that are stories of inspiration, of humanity, of courage, stories told in words, in images, in faces.”
The museum is among several nonprofit organizations and associations for which BBDO New York creates pro bono campaigns in an effort the agency calls “soul branding,” Mr. Osborn says. Others include Autism Speaks, the Police Athletic League of New York City,Save the Children and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
For the Reeve foundation, BBDO New York has created a display that will be in a window at 10 Rockefeller Plaza — between 48th and 49th Streets in Midtown Manhattan — for the month of September. The window space is below the office of a company, EHE International, that donates the space each month to a different nonprofit organization, typically in the area of health and wellness.
The display for the Reeve foundation features Christopher Reeve’s wheelchair. The foundation is getting the window space this month because September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month; also, Reeve, who died in 2004, was born on Sept. 25. EHE International has been donating the space to nonprofits since 2003.
Official voices that talk about 9/11 will not be alone in speaking out this week. A group known as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which wants a new investigation into the events that day, is buying billboards in New York and other cities as part of what it calls its Rethink911 campaign.