Expansion Follows Record-Breaking Tourism Year in 2007 and Strong First Quarter in 2008 and Includes Addition of 22 New

Celebrities and Local Experts, New Website, Expanded Outdoor Media Presence and $5 Million in Donated Advertising at JFK Airport

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company today launched a comprehensive expansion of the Just Ask The Locals campaign by making a national morning show appearance and deploying welcome teams across New York City. Building on the success of the first phase of Just Ask The Locals launched in 2007, the expanded campaign calls on visitors to ask New Yorkers to share their suggestions on what to see and do in New York City. It will include an additional $5 million in donated media space from JCDecaux in five terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport, an interactive website, and radio, print, online and outdoor advertising throughout all five boroughs. The campaign, which currently features celebrities Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore and others, re-launches with 22 new celebrities and local experts, including Kevin Bacon, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Alan Cumming, Tim Gunn, Debbie Harry, Matt Lauer, Lindsay Price and Ivanka Trump—all of whom offer tips on things like best late-night eats, great bargains and liveliest flea markets around the City. NYC & Company is New York City’s official tourism, marketing and partnership organization.

“Tourism remains one of New York City’s most profitable and stable industries, with a record 47 million visitors generating more than $28 billion in revenue in 2007,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “In expanding the Just Ask The Locals program, we continue our efforts to welcome and thank visitors and make it easier and more rewarding to navigate the City.”

“When we launched Just Ask the Locals last summer, our goal was to connect with visitors on a personal level and make the City more welcoming and easier to navigate,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “This time we are broadening that connection by expanding the program’s reach to offer visitors actionable tips about music, nightlife, food, fashion and more from an array of New York City celebrities and experts.”

The Just Ask The Locals web site, located within the website, will be one of the initial components of the expansion efforts, along with new outdoor, print and online advertising across the five boroughs. The site will offer navigation tools for visitors and locals through interactive Google maps, address listings, customized directions and transportation links.

The site provides an expanded list of celebrity and local insider tips and top five recommendations, organized by Shopping, Dining, Arts & Entertainment and Nightlife. Visitors to the site also will be able to provide their own tips and ideas on how to navigate and experience the City and can enter the Just Ask the Locals Sweepstakes to win an “NYC Insiders” weekend for two in the City, including hotel accommodations, dining and entertainment. Behind-the-scenes videos will feature participating celebrity and expert locals, who, in their own words, speak to their favorite parts of the City.

The campaign was created by NYC & Company’s in-house creative team, led by Creative Director Willy Wong, and supported through acclaimed celebrity photographers Kevin Mazur and Myrna Suarez. The celebrities and experts – all New York City residents – offered their own personal tips and specific expertise to the campaign, donating their time on behalf of the City. Additional participants include Coltrane Curtis, entrepreneur and MTV fashion VJ; Simon Doonan, creative director for Barneys New York; Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera; Dany Levy, founder of; Mr. Mickey, the deputy editorial director at Paper magazine; musician Itzhak Perlman; Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.; Eric Ripert, chef and owner of Le Bernardin; chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson; NYPD officer Jahn Scott; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.

In addition to the celebrity and expert component, the campaign expansion will enhance the City’s efforts to attract international travelers to New York City and improve the entry process for them. Even as international travel to the United States declines, New York City continues to see record-breaking overseas visitation. Thanks to the additional $5 million donated by partner JCDecaux, more than $10 million in donated advertising space is set to appear across five JFK terminals over the next six months to help welcome international visitors. The campaign also will be supported by media on City bus shelters and street pole banners and, through print and radio ads, taxicab monitors and exclusive offers for American Express card members.

“We are proud to participate in the promotion of New York City, the place that our company calls home in North America,” said Bernard Parisot, President and co-CEO of JCDecaux North America. “The space, donated by JCDecaux at John F. Kennedy International Airport, will reach millions of arriving international passengers, welcoming them to New York City and enhancing their experience.”

American Express, a partner and underwriter of the Just Ask The Locals campaign, is providing American Express card members with exclusive offers from some of the City’s best stores, restaurants, cultural institutions and other organizations. These offers not only will be available online at, but also will appear in a customized booklet that will be available at more than 80 local businesses, NYC Visitor Information centers, hotels, and will be distributed by street teams and inserted in Time Out New York magazine.

”American Express has a long history of partnering with merchants and card members in supporting the communities in which we live and work,” said Dionne Rogers, vice president, client management, American Express Merchant Services. “The Just Ask The Locals program is a wonderful way to promote New York City and all of the extraordinary experiences it offers, both to visitors and residents.”

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