Nature Conservancy Pushes Benefits Of 'NYC Trees' In Sassy Campaign

The Nature Conservancy is big on trees, especially the trees that grow in New York City's five boroughs. Their benefits are many, which is the thrust behind a new digital and out-of-home campaign, "NYC Trees."

The Oberland agency is behind the sassy creative.

One ad reads: “The only free hug in NYC you can trust” under a photo of arms encircling a textured tree trunk.

The OOH ads appear in bus shelters and other postings near the city's best-known parks: Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

The campaign also includes “Treevia,” a digital, tree-oriented trivia game appearing on digital LinkNYC kiosks. It tests New Yorker’s knowledge about the city’s trees and directs them to, where they can learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work. Questions include “What percentage of NYC is covered by tree canopy?” (22%) and “How many trees are there in NYC?” (7 million).

“Our goal here was to draw a parallel between New Yorkers’ behavior and how trees are a natural part of their community,” says Oberland co-founder/Chief Creative Officer Bill Oberlander.



Adds The Nature Conservancy’s Laura Leinweber, senior marketing director: “What we’re aiming to achieve with this work from OBERLAND is to elevate the benefits of the urban forests so they’re top of mind, for both New Yorkers and the millions of people who visit the city.”

Loop Communications led the media strategy.

The agency tapped Micheal O’Neal, a New York-based photographer, to capture the tree images and partnered with Ying Chang to create original type treatments for the ads. A Taiwanese lettering artist, Chang spent several years drawing graffiti on caps for tourists in Times Square, creating her own linguistic expression through design.

“We enlisted Ying to make the work look a bit more like graffiti art than advertising typography and to add a little NYC edginess to the message,” Oberlander says.

The agency's work includes ACLU, Consumer Reports, OKCOIN and Thinx.

Among the facts communicated in the “Treevia” questions are how trees have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety; and that The Nature Conservancy, through its Future Forest NYC initiative and as a convener and leading member of Forest for All NYC, is working to equitably expand the benefits of the NYC urban forest for everyone. 

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