Here’s the brief: Convince a former out-of-home media strategist to marry you.
The execution? Splash your love across a New York Times front page, a Times Square billboard, LinkNYC kiosks and the side of a bus.
Zenith Senior VP-Strategy Evan Kory started dating fiancée, Horizon Media talent acquisition partner Alli Grabell, after they worked together at Horizon and played on the company’s tennis team.
So for Kory, it made sense that his proposal come in the form of a video revisiting media spots across the city where the couple reconnected more than 20 years after attending preschool together in New Jersey (a fact they didn’t uncover until they’d begun dating.) The video shows the future groom going about his day while being bombarded by reminders of his relationship with Grabell on a New York Times front page he picks up at a food cart, an ad on a Pandora station, and more.
In some cases, the placements were faked, like the New York Times page. But real images of the couple appeared in kiosks, on the side of a bus and on a Times Square billboard, thanks to a little help from Kory’s friends.
Kory showed Grabell the resulting seven-minute video at a Hamptons beach last week before popping the question.
“Originally, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll just do a few digital mockups.’ The whole idea is grounded [in the idea that] the city was giving me all these signs — Alli started as an out-of-home buyer,” he says.
But then it snowballed. “I started thinking, ‘Could I make it it a little bigger than small digital mocks?'”
Bigger it got: On the screens of LinkNYC posts, which asked, “What about Alli’s love of sports?” Or the side of the bus, which featured photos of the couple on the beaches of Costa Rica and visiting Disney.
And finally, on a screen at the Marriott Marquis, “Bottom line, you love Alli and you can’t live without her… so get on with it and ask already!”
Kory says setting up the video, filming and editing took about a month. “People in the industry were more than willing to help bring this to fruition,” he says.
“Media has been one of the biggest parts of my life. I see my work friends [probably more] than Alli and my family,” he says. “I felt like it was a nice way to come full circle: Having us re-meet in the industry and in media, and then using it to inspire me to propose.”
So how’d he do with the target audience?
“It’s insanely meaningful,” says Grabell, who said yes. She credits Horizon’s social environment with sparking their romance. “It was just a really special place for us to both start out.”
Her boss agrees. “It’s so cool the way he integrated content, out-of-home signage and storytelling into the proposal,” says Horizon CEO Bill Koenigsberg, adding that he is “so happy for two amazing people.”