The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards


Winner in Nonprofit Partnership

Finalist in Community Engagement

Gold Honor in Integrated Campaign, Arts & Culture

Silver Honor in Local Campaign

Audience Honor in Integrated Campaign, Local Campaign, Arts & Culture


No one can deny the excitement of the City That Never Sleeps, but after a grueling pandemic, New York City found that 62% of its residents were pessimistic and unsure about the future of the city. However, 72% of New Yorkers believe the city can improve and want to be part of that solution. 

The NY Governor, NYC Mayor, business, labor and community leaders all came together with the objective to launch a campaign that would inspire optimism and civic action by celebrating what makes NYC great and empowering New Yorkers to get involved. Our goal was to reach every New Yorker (8.3 million people total) with earned and donated media to encourage engagement and participation in building an even better post-pandemic city.

Strategy and Execution

Post-pandemic, the challenges facing the city today are more complex than ever before. The technology revolution and remote work disrupted basic patterns of urban life. The city is more expensive than ever before and public safety has re-emerged as the top concern. Yet New Yorkers know there is only one city, and it’s worth it. 

To bring back optimism to New York City and mobilize civic action, we were inspired by the iconic I❤️NY tourism logo of the 70s. We shifted the focus from “I” to “We” and from “NY” to “NYC” to inspire New Yorkers that “WE” can tackle these challenges and demonstrate that New York City is the greatest city in the world.

In true NYC fashion, the response was overwhelmingly passionate, opinionated and filled with pride. 

We launched “WE❤️NYC” on the first day of Spring (March 20, 2023) with a fully integrated media plan that took over iconic New York City real estate. This included a full takeover of Times Square Billboards, The Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and Barclays Center. We used Wild Postings, DOOH, OOH, Cabs, and Rail — all the transportation systems that New Yorkers share — as the backbone of the media plan. We also strategically ran messaging across print, social, and digital with shoutouts from influential NY partners like the NY Knicks, NY Yankees, NY Mets, NY Nets, NY Liberty during games.

We knew we had gotten New Yorkers’ attention when we quickly heard from celebrities like Joe Jonas, fans, and critics, alike, sparking a true viral debate about the iconic logo redesign. We embraced the debate, fueling more people to engage in the conversation, garnering more earned media to help explain our broader mission of why “WE❤️NYC,” and getting New Yorkers involved.

Two examples of how we then got New Yorkers to step up and get involved are: 

1) We encouraged New Yorkers to participate in Park Clean Ups across the city with a special WICKED performance in Times Square, plus a targeted social and out-of-home media campaign to drive sign ups. We doubled our sign up goals and drove over 1,300 volunteers!

2) The First Annual Rider’s Choice Awards with the MTAs Music Under NY program invited New Yorkers to vote for their favorite subway performer. The Brass Queens, an all-women New Orleans-style brass band, were selected as the favorite based on over 59,000 votes.

We were able to make this epic campaign with zero tax payer dollars. Corporations of the Partnership for New York City volunteered services and donated over $22 Million dollars in media to make this possible. WE❤️NYC got New Yorkers from all different beliefs and backgrounds talking and engaging to make sure New York City remains the greatest city in the world.


The launch of WE❤️NYC ignited the whole city, reaching 252 million on launch day alone (that’s 2X the reach of the Super Bowl’s national audience). We sparked new social conversations around encouraging and mobilizing New Yorkers to take action and make a difference (29K engagements total on launch day).

Throughout the campaign (March-July), WE❤️NYC drove 4.9 Billion total impressions across earned, social, and donated media. New Yorkers showed that they cared by growing the WE❤️NYC Instagram by 1400% to over 38K followers.

The MTA Riders’ Choice Awards drove over 59K votes and the WE❤️NYC, NYC Parks, and WICKED partnerships drove over 1,300 volunteer sign ups, which was 2x our goal.

WE❤️NYC even inspired brands like Drizly to adopt the logo into its local campaign and artists like @go4tart to adopt it as part of their street art. The retailer Aviator Nation incorporated our “❤️” into its design for a clothing drop supporting Hawaii Relief efforts. The “❤️” in our logo has become a common language representing “care” and “making an impact” - when you see it, you know that it represents community and making an impact. We love seeing New Yorkers and people from all over take the logo and make it their own!


Video for WE❤️NYC

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Grain Group, Partnership for New York City


Entry Credits