Monday, September 12, 2011

"Yuck" is one response to Ratner's 9/11 ad promoting the Beekman Tower (aka 8 Spruce Street/New York By Gehry)

In his BreakingCopy blog, about copywriting, Daryl Lang today cites Forest City Ratner's 9/11-themed ad running in today's Wall Street Journal. (I'd have thought it would be in the New York Times, too, but maybe they could pick only one.)

Writes Lang:
Notice the skyline. The rippling, metallic building in the foreground is 8 Spruce Street, a Forest City Ratner building. It was designed by Frank Gehry and is an easily spotted new fixture in the downtown Manhattan skyline. It’s full of pricy apartments Ratner is trying to rent.

In the background, of course, is a rendering of the future 1 World Trade Center, which Ratner is not involved in. The copy above says, simply, “WE BELIEVE.”

What to make of this? On the one hand, yes, Bruce Ratner did place a vote of confidence in Lower Manhattan at a time when the neighborhood really needed investments. But come on. He’s a New York City real estate developer, not a charity. So the ad basically says: “Let’s piggyback the 9/11 anniversary to show off our shiny new building we’re trying to fill up.” Yuck.
My comment:
Note that Ratner didn’t place a vote of confidence in Lower Manhattan without hedging his bets.
He got tax-free Liberty Bonds to lower the cost of construction.
And he stopped construction midway to renegotiate with the unions.

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