The Brits are taking over New York, in a fortnight-long, citywide festival to promote British business and culture supported by a multimillion-dollar ad campaign.

Three years in the making, the UK with NY festival lasts from October 14–28, with over 225 events. Organisers decided to proceed despite the recent devastation in the city, but changed the event’s name from the original UKinNY and pulled certain events deemed inappropriate.

“Everybody felt we shouldn’t walk away from something that would do a great deal of good in New York,” commented Peter J Bates, president of consulting firm Strategic Vision which is overseeing 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 new direction meant that the festival’s ads, created by the New York office of M&C Saatchi, had to be changed rapidly to read: “Britain’s desire to stand side by side with New York is now greater than ever.” They call the event “a tribute to the close relationship on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Changes to tone and text “reflect quite a switch in the way we see this,” revealed the agency’s chairman Robert Fletcher. “The words of support and solidarity are more front of mind than they were previously.”

The $3 million campaign backing the event includes print and outdoor ads featuring a montage of contemporary British culture, as well as TV spots on the Time Warner Cable channels broadcasting to New York and national ads on BBC America.

Sponsors include British Airways, Mastercard, Reuters, HSBC Bank USA, Hilton and a host of British government and business organisations.

News source: New York Times