Alan Bell, pioneer of 'I Love NY' campaign, dies at 82

SARASOTA, FL: Alan Bell, a former vice chairman of Manning Selvage

& Lee who oversaw PR efforts for the launch of the "I Love NY" tourism

campaign, died on December 1 in Sarasota, FL.

Bell, who was 82, spent the last 10 years of his nearly six-decade-long

career as the public relations director for Star Clippers cruises, where

he worked until he retired last February.

Bell, a native of McAfee, NJ, got his start as a newspaperman, covering

Springfield College and the University of Massachusetts as a student

correspondent for the Springfield Union-News.

Known to friends for sneaking them in to watch the paper's late-night

print runs, he was equally renowned among UMass sports fans for his

exploits on the track oval. A champion long-jumper, he was later invited

for an ultimately unsuccessful tryout for the US Olympic team.

After graduating, Bell took a job editing the Trinidad, West Indies

Morning Calypso. During World War II, he served as a Navy quartermaster,

developing a love of sailing that would later lead him, at age 71, to

skipper his wooden-hulled, 32-foot motor-sailer called the Tusen Tack,

on a voyage from Long Island to Florida.

In 1954, Bell joined the New York shop Steve Hannagan Associates, helmed

by Steve Hannagan and known for its successful promotion of Miami Beach

as a tourist destination. Two years later, he teamed with Ed Stanton to

found Bell & Stanton. The firm's work on the "Forward Atlanta" campaign

- for which Bell created the slogan "The City Too Busy to Hate" - is

credited with helping the city emerge from its desegregation struggle as

one of the South's leading business and cultural centers.

"Alan's attitude was, 'You set a goal for the city,'" former Bell &

Stanton vice president Margaret Larsen told PRWeek. "And they lived up

to it the best that they could."

Bell & Stanton went on to work for clients including the city of San

Antonio, Grand Bahama Island, and the wine industries of California and

France. His efforts on behalf of the US Virgin Islands won him the

PRSA's Silver Anvil Award in 1978. He landed the "I Love New York"

account that same year.

Bell created a broad-based campaign that ranged from press releases to

local media outlets, to pitches on seasonal travel packages to national

magazines, to international tours with Broadway stars. MS&L handled the

initiative until 1986, and reported in a case history that under its

direction, "I Love NY" generated $8 million in tourism revenue

for every $1 million tax dollars spent on the ads and


Bell retired to Florida in 1990 - only to soon find himself back at work

full-time for Star Clippers, which operates classic ships on cruises to

the Caribbean, the Greek Isles, and the Far East.

"Alan so enjoyed sailing on these ships, that if he organized a piece,

he would definitely be along for the trip to accompany the writer," said

Jack Chatham, vice president of marketing and sales for Star


Added David Pearson, a former employee of Bell's, "That job was like

paradise for him. He's already been to heaven."

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