Last autumn, with the US presidential campaign in full swing, some ad folks came together, labelled themselves ‘Dog Lovers For Joe’, and dropped the most simple but powerful spot
that highlighted Donald Trump’s lack of pooch in the White House.
With Biden in the White House, the Dog Lovers have rebranded as DLNY, ‘Dog Lovers for New York’, with the aim to inject some optimism and positivity into the city that they love with a project dubbed #nowyork
. The founder of the group is Rob Schwartz, the newly appointed chair of the TBWA New York Group, where he has oversight of TBWA\Chiat\Day NY, Lucky Generals NY and 180NY. The DLNY group also includes creatives Patrick O'Neill (formerly ECD of TBWA\Chiat\Day LA) and Ryan DiDonato; film editor Dan Bootzin (the man who cut Apple's ‘Think Different’ manifesto); Johnnie Studio’s Angela Kosniewski as account manager; Mekanism’s Mani Schlisser on strategy duties; Jigisha Bouverat as art management; and Matt Scheckner as impresario.
“The project is called #nowyork,” says Rob. “It has been conceived to bring optimism and hope to the citizens of all five boroughs. To bring business to all of the businesses in New York from accountants to filmmakers to restaurateurs to zookeepers. And finally, to raise some money for the CITYarts.org charity. We are out in the world with positive messaging in the form of murals, social media and OOH.”
Speaking of murals, Rob and the DLNY crew recently collaborated with an organisation called Curbside Canvas and artist c1mah
on an art mural on 38th Street, Manhattan. Curbside Canvas serves as a volunteer neighbourhood-recovery effort, uniting local artists with struggling New York City restaurants to transform pop-up dining patios into street art, for the purposes of driving greater interest, energy and business back into New York City’s Covid-coping communities, and was founded by Bill Tsapalas, another ad veteran.
“The mural came about when I had coffee with Bill Tsapalas, the founder of Curbside Canvas,” says Rob. “Bill is an ad industry veteran who I have known for decades. He's doing a real service to the city by pairing artists with restaurateurs to create beautiful art for all of these make-shift spaces that the restaurants have been putting up.”
The inspiration for Rob and the rest of DLNY to launch this initiative came as they kept reading headlines in the press that ‘New York was dead’. “We saw green shoots in the pavement,” he says. “We saw film production happening. We saw restaurants making a go of it. We saw a city slowly coming back to life. And we saw an opportunity to let people know that New York is turning around - right now.”
They are currently working with the New York Yankees baseball team to do messaging in the Yankee Stadium, one of the city's most iconic structures. They also have plans for more murals and more artists. They are also focusing on Instagram and are looking for guest curators to contribute to their already beautifully designed page (which you can check out here
“This project is important to me because I'm a New Yorker,” says Rob. “I believe in the promise, potential and power of this city. It's important for America and the world to see a strong New York. So goes New York, so goes the world.
“New York in 2021 is special because it's the ultimate comeback story. And it's on brand for New York. This is what we do. We get knocked down, but we always come back stronger. Look at 1929 when the stock market crashed. Look at 9/11. Look at the financial crisis of 2008. New York refuses to accept defeat. That's what makes it the greatest city on earth - and we're watching the next great comeback happen - right now.”