LOT'S WIFE..Turn around..look back...see with new eyes

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Am Thinking About......THE AD COUNCIL

Every morning while driving to school I listen to the radio and invariably a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA) will come on that ends with BROUGHT TO YOU BY  "BLAH BLAH" and......  THE AD COUNCIL.    

  These ads have been with us all our lives on TV and on radio. Their slogans have become part of our national lexicon.    WHAT is the AD COUNCIL?

On  its website, the Ad Council says it is a private non-profit corporation founded in 1941.  It was originally THE WAR ADVERTISING COUNCIL and it came into being to assist the war effort.
Now, as The Ad Council, it works in conjunction with some very prestigious ad agencies (who donate their time) to create campaigns for THE PUBLIC GOOD.  In other words, the Ad Council picks a subject and exposes us to it over and over and over again, for as long as it takes, until we GET IT in our DNA.

The Advertising Council does not produce public service advertisements itself.   It acts as a coordinator and distributor. The Advertising Council accepts requests from sponsor organizations for advertising campaigns that focus on particular social issues.

 To qualify, an issue must be non-partisan (though not necessarily unbiased) and have national relevance. The Advertising Council then assigns each campaign to a volunteer advertising agency that produces the actual advertisements. Finally, the Advertising Council distributes the finished advertisements to media outlets.

I REALLY wanted to disapprove of the AD COUNCIL.  I know that this could be used to serve THE DARK SIDE.  

 I also know that the AD COUNCIL board is made up of people who  are somewhat left of center.   But, as I gathered information on them, so many powerful memories of their campaigns came flooding into memory. 

 I found myself smiling!  To tell the truth…I am just hard pressed to criticize them. I think that mostly they have been a force for good.  These messages just seem to walk in the light.

 So…here is some background on just a few of the Ad Council's  MEGA successful campaigns…..

Women in War Jobs --  (1942 - 1945)

In December 1941, almost 13 million women were at work. By February 1943, that number rose to 15 million, but there was a need for two million more women by early 1944. The jobs that needed employees were in war production plants and necessary civilian services, as both were essential to support the country. Until this time, millions of American women had never worked outside their homes. The idea of taking any kind of job outside of their homes was a new idea, and like all new ideas, required explanation.

The War Advertising Council's Women in War Jobs campaign is the most successful advertising recruitment campaign in American history.

 Rosie the Riveter, a fictional character immortalized by posters supporting the war effort and a wartime song of the same name, helped to recruit more than two million women into the workforce. Her image was everywhere!

The underlying theme was that the social change required to bring women into the workforce was a patriotic responsibility for women, and an opportunity for employers to support the war economy. Those ads led to a tremendous change in the relationship between women and the workplace. As a result, employment outside of the home became socially acceptable and even desirable.

Security of War Information -  (1942-1945)

The War Advertising Council's "Loose Lips Sink Ships" public service ads reminding Americans of the dangers of revealing too much information are still remembered today. This particular campaign encouraged Americans to be discreet in their communication to prevent restricted information from being leaked to the enemy during World War II.

The theme was widely promoted in advertising as well as through other informational channels. The War Advertising Council prepared a guide for advertisers, which included posters, radio spots, and promotional kits for use by local security committees.

Research conducted by the Council in conjunction with the campaign indicated that twice as many of the people exposed to the careless talk messages were aware of what information could not be safely discussed in wartime than those not reached by the campaign.

Savings Bonds (1942 - 1980)

The War Advertising Council's first campaign, the Savings (or War) Bonds campaign, encouraged Americans to support the war effort by purchasing war bonds. The bonds were referred to as Defense Bonds until 1942 when agency executive Walter Weir decided it was more logical to call them War Bonds.

 From January 15, 1942 to August 14, 1945, the organized power of advertising focused on informing the American people what needed to be done to win World War II quickly and buying war bonds was near the top of that list. In that time, American advertising and media businesses contributed an estimated $350 million worth of space and time in support of war bond promotion and approximately 85 million Americans bought more than 800 million war bonds.

After World War II, the bonds were called Savings Bonds and the ads promoting them appealed to prudent investment rather than patriotism.

The name War Bonds returned a short time later to coincide with the Korean War. President Lyndon Johnson wanted to renew a full-blown War Bond campaign during the Vietnam War, but that war was a controversial and divisive issue for the public. Consequently, the Ad Council only felt comfortable creating ads showing soldiers - but not mentioning Vietnam - with the theme: "They buy bonds where they work. Do you?"

Forest Fire Prevention -  (1944 - Present)
The longest running campaign in Ad Council history, Smokey Bear and his famous warning, "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," was introduced to Americans in 1944. The campaign was developed to educate the public on forest fire prevention. At the time, accidental fires accounted for nine out of 10 forest fires and destroyed millions of acres every year.

When the campaign was created, Walt Disney loaned "Bambi" for use on a poster for one year. The "Bambi" poster was a success and proved that using an animal as a fire prevention symbol would work. On August 9, 1944, the first poster of Smokey Bear was prepared, depicting a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire.

 Smokey Bear became popular and, in 1952, Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins wrote a song with the same name that would cause a debate among Smokey enthusiasts for the next several decades. The writers added "the" between "Smokey" and "Bear" to maintain the rhythm, and because of the song's popularity, Smokey Bear became known as "Smokey the Bear" to many adoring fans.

 Smokey Bear quickly drew enough public recognition to attract commercial interest and in 1952, an Act of Congress passed to take Smokey out of the public domain and place him under the control of the Secretary of Agriculture. The Act provided for the use of collected royalties and fees for continued education on forest fire prevention.

Since its inception, Smokey's forest fire prevention campaign has reduced the number of acres lost annually from 22 million to 4 million.

In April 2001, the Ad Council updated Smokey's message to address the increasing number of wildfires nationwide, changing the slogan to "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires."

American Red Cross (1945 - 1996)

For more than 50 years, the American Red Cross worked with the Ad Council on public service advertising campaigns that raised public awareness of the various services provided by the Red Cross. The PSAs helped to recruit blood donors, enlist volunteers, enroll individuals in health and safety courses, and raise funds.

Most importantly, these campaigns produced dramatic results. In 1990, the Red Cross focused its recruitment campaign efforts on young adults. In just one month, the PSAs helped to recruit 30,000 Red Cross volunteers, and, by the end of 1991, young adult involvement in the Red Cross had increased by 37%. In 1986, the Ad Council and the Red Cross, the world's largest supplier of blood and blood products at the time, partnered to launch a campaign to dispel rumors about AIDS transmission.

In addition to helping to recruit volunteers, the Red Cross PSA campaign helped to raise millions of dollars for disaster relief, including funds for victims of Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and for the victims of the African famine in 1985. In fact, the relief campaign for the African famine reached its initial goal of $5 million within a few weeks, finally totaling more than $20 million.

Pollution Prevention:  (1961 - 1983)

In 1961, Keep America Beautiful partnered with the Ad Council to create a campaign dramatizing how litter and other forms of pollution were hurting the environment, and that every individual has the responsibility to help protect it. The goal of the campaign was to help fight the negative attitudes and behaviors that lead to pollution.

On Earth Day, 1971, a PSA featuring Native American actor Chief Iron Eyes Cody and the tagline line, "People Start Pollution. People can stop it." aired for the first time. Iron Eyes Cody became synonymous with environmental concern and achieved lasting fame as, "The Crying Indian."

The PSA won two Clio awards and the campaign was named one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th Century by Ad Age Magazine. In 1982, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored Iron Eyes Cody, whose film repertoire included three Western films with President Ronald Reagan, with a star bearing his name on the Famous Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard.

During the height of the campaign, Keep America Beautiful reported receiving more than 2,000 letters a month from people wanting to join their local team. By the end of the campaign, Keep America Beautiful local teams had helped to reduce litter by as much as 88% in 300 communities, 38 states, and several countries. The success of the Keep America Beautiful anti-litter campaign led to hundreds of other environmental messages through the years, from many different sources, including the Ad Council.

Polio (1958-1961)

Stamp Out Paralytic Polio

 Polio is a viral disease that damages the nervous system, and often results in paralysis and, sometimes, even death. In 1916, polio killed 6,000 people and paralyzed another 27,000 in the United States alone. During the 1940s and 1950s, polio was a household word and, undoubtedly, a source of intense fear for many parents.  My own mother contracted polio when  I was 6 years old.

The paralytic polio vaccine developed by Jonas E. Salk in 1955 made it possible to prevent polio. When the country responded very slowly to the medical advancement, The U.S. Public Health Service, the American Medical Association, and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis sought the Ad Council's help to persuade all Americans under forty to get the vaccine.

Three sets of shots were required at first, and it took an extended and repeated advertising effort to get 80% of the at-risk population fully immunized. When 1959 statistics showed a  rise in polio cases among those who had not taken the full series of Salk shots, the Ad Council renewed its campaign to persuade Americans to obtain all three of the necessary polio shots. Through April of 1960, inoculations had increased to 91.1 million, from 79 million the previous year, and 72 million Americans had received three or more shots.

The importance of the polio vaccine was successfully communicated and the following year the campaign was discontinued. Today, polio is one of the routine immunizations given to children in the United States and, as a result, the disease is virtually nonexistent.

Peace Corps (1961 - 1991)

While campaigning for presidency, then-Senator John F. Kennedy arrived at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in the early hours of October 14, 1960, and made an impromptu campaign speech to thousands of students gathered on the steps of the Union. He asked if they would be willing to serve their country and the cause of peace by living and working in under-developed countries around the world. In March of 1961, less than one year later, President Kennedy issued an Executive Order creating the Peace Corps.

 Unfortunately, many Americans didn't understand the purpose of the Peace Corps. To that end, The Ad Council and ad agency Young & Rubicam developed a campaign that would soon capture the spirit and the nobility of the Peace Corps. Ad agency Ted Bates & Co. later created the slogan that conveyed its hardship and rewards -- "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love." The public service advertisements (PSAs) described the opportunities for service and challenged the public to make the commitment by depicting both the hardships and the rewarding personal experiences.

The campaign helped to attract volunteers to the program almost immediately. In its first year, the Peace Corps sent 614 volunteers to 13 countries, but that number dramatically increased with more than 14,800 volunteers serving in 46 countries by 1964. The print ads included clip and mail coupons, and in 1965, more than a thousand people a week were sending them in. By 1991, 30 percent of Peace Corps volunteers were recruited through the Ad Council's campaign.

United Negro College Fund (1972- Present)

Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has grown to become one of the nation's best-known charitable organizations. Funds contributed to the UNCF make it possible for 43 UNCF member colleges and universities to keep tuitions low and the dream of an education within every student's reach. In 1972, the UNCF partnered with the Ad Council to launch a public service advertising campaign encouraging Americans to support the fund. The campaign slogan,
"A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste," has remained unchanged for more than three decades and has become part of the American vernacular.

 At the time of the campaign launch, graduates from UNCF member schools represented more than half of all black elected officials in the United States, 75% of the country's black Ph.D's, and 85% of the country's black doctors. In addition, 90% percent of these graduates were the first in their families to receive a degree and 70% percent came from families with a gross income level of $5,000 or less. Though the nation was in the midst of a business recession, contributions to the UNCF doubled in the first five years of the campaign.

To date, the campaign has helped to raise more than $1.9 billion and has helped to graduate more than 300,000 minority students from 43 UNCF member colleges and universities.

Child Abuse Prevention (1976-2003)

In 1976, the Ad Council and Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) partnered to develop a public service advertising (PSA) campaign to raise awareness of what was then a hidden crisis - child abuse. At the time, less than 10 percent of US adults considered child abuse to be a critical social problem. But in reality, more than one million children in the United States were being abused each year, profoundly impacting individual lives and communities across the country.

The PSA campaign was designed to promote public understanding of the scope and ramifications of child abuse, encouraging the public to write for more information. The first PSAs featured the tagline, "It shouldn't hurt to be a child," and generated an incredible response from the public. In the first month of the campaign, more than 40,000 people sent letters to PCAA. In 1978, the campaign was recognized with the International Advertising Association's Public Service Advertising Award as "the best public service advertising campaign produced by an agency anywhere in the world."

 The campaign began to urge the establishment of child abuse prevention centers in the communities throughout the nation or joining existing programs. In conjunction with this appeal, PCAA began developing a broad network of chapters to help prevent child abuse on the local level. In 1980, there were 12 chapters, but by 1984 that number increased to 46 chapters.

A 1981 survey found that five years after the campaign launch, a whopping 91% of the American public considered child abuse to be a major problem and less than 4% thought that individuals could do nothing to prevent it. Later evolutions of the campaign offered practical solutions to preventing child abuse, such as simple alternative behaviors to discourage lashing out in fits of anger. Those PSAs featured the tagline,
 "Take time out. Don't take it out on your child."

Crime Prevention (1979 - Present)

In 1979, the National Crime Prevention Council and the Ad Council introduced Americans to a character, who would quickly become a powerful symbol of the fight against crime -- McGruff the Crime Dog.

At the time, research indicated that feelings of apathy, fear, and the inevitability of crime prevented the public from addressing rising crime rates. McGruff and his now familiar slogan, "Take a bite out of crime," helped to change that.

The popular public service advertisements (PSAs) were designed to raise awareness among Americans that every citizen has the ability to prevent or at least to reduce crime. Additionally, the spots were developed to empower citizens with an individual sense of responsibility for preventing crime.
In just the first months of the campaign, more than 300,000 copies of the booklet,
"Got a minute? You could stop a crime," were requested, and by 1981, more than one million copies were distributed as a direct result of the advertising, which encouraged the public to perform simple steps such as locking doors and joining with neighbors to create neighborhood watch groups.

 In 1985, the Crime Prevention campaign shifted its focus to the tragedy of the 20,000 kids who disappear in the country yearly. The new PSAs urged parents to educate children about the ways they can protect themselves against crime and kidnapping. A 1987 market research study showed that nine out of 10 teens and adults taking crime prevention measures trusted McGruff, and an astonishing 97% of children said they tried to do what McGruff told them to do. Having achieved such astounding success, NCPC altered its focus yet again. The message of the new PSAs was drug abuse prevention and the ads featured the theme "Users are Losers" and once again McGruff.

Today, more than 93% of children recognize McGruff, the trench coat wearing hound dog, as the icon that provides safety tips for adults and kids.

Drunk Driving Prevention (1983 - Present)

In 1983 the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (under the U.S. Department of Transportation - U.S. DOT) partnered to launch the Drunk Driving Prevention campaign. Although society's permissive attitude toward drinking and driving had recently begun to shift, many Americans were still unaware of the magnitude of the problem. At the time drunk drivers were responsible for 50% of automobile fatalities and experts predicted that one out of every two Americans would be involved in an alcohol-related traffic accident in his or her lifetime.

The campaign, with its tagline, "Drinking and Driving Can Kill A Friendship," was originally designed to reach 16-24 year-olds, who accounted for 42% of all fatal alcohol-related car crashes, and inspire personal responsibility to prevent drinking and driving.

The public service advertisement (PSA), which emphasized the grave consequences of drinking and driving with a depiction of two glasses crashing into each other, won the 1984 classic CLIO award for best overall ad campaign - commercial or public service. To date, it is one of only a handful of PSAs to have been so honored since 1947.

As the years passed, statistics showed that the issue of drunk driving was approaching the forefront of American consciousness.  The U.S. DOT reported a 25% decrease in the number of drunk drivers killed in traffic accidents between 1980 and 1990.

In 1990, new PSAs encouraging friends to intervene in order to prevent a drunk person from getting behind the wheel introduced the tagline, "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." This hard-hitting campaign was instrumental in achieving a 10% decrease in alcohol-related fatalities between 1990 and 1991 - the single largest one-year drop in alcohol-related fatalities ever recorded. The tagline went on to become the most recognized anti-drinking and driving slogan in America.

Seat Belt Education (1985 - Present)

The Ad Council has promoted driving safety, one of the first civilian issues addressed after World War II, since 1945. However, it wasn't until 1985, that the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration partnered to launch the Seat Belt Education campaign, one of the most influential campaigns to address driving safety.

The campaign was developed to encourage vehicle passengers to use seat belts, and featured Vince and Larry, two crash test dummies who dramatized what could happen when you don't wear a seatbelt. The public service advertisements (PSAs) included the tagline, "You can learn a lot from a dummy! Buckle your safety belt."

 In the first six months of 1986, a DOT survey in 19 cities reported that 39% of drivers reported using their seat belts as opposed to 23% a year before. Overall, between 1982 and 1988, seat belt usage by all vehicle passengers nationwide increased from 11 to 47 percent.
The public's motivation to buckle up spilled over into the halls of power and since then a large majority of states have enacted laws mandating the use of safety belts. Though the Ad Council is non partisan and non political and therefore does not design advertising to influence the passage of legislation, it is generally conceded that awareness of the importance of seat belts increased as a result of the PSAs and their constant reminders to "Buckle Up." In 1989, the use of seat belts in the states that had enacted laws reportedly rose from 21% to 70%.

In its first six years, the Seat Belt Education campaign garnered more than $337 million in donated media time and space. In 1990, the campaign was recognized with a Gold Effie award from the New York chapter of the American Marketing Association.

AIDS Prevention (1988 - 1990)

As the AIDS epidemic began to sweep the nation in 1987, the Ad Council partnered with the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the National AIDS Network to develop an AIDS prevention campaign that would educate individuals about methods of protection and help inspire change in current behavior. At the time, the majority of Americans were aware of the existence and gravity of the AIDS virus, but many did not fully understand the facts about the disease and how it spreads.

Launched in September of 1988, just months before the first ever World AIDS Day on December 1, this groundbreaking campaign was the first in American advertising to use the word "condom." The campaign, featuring the tagline "Help stop AIDS. Use a condom," received the endorsement of then United States Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop and continued until 1990.

 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between January 1989 and May 1990, the number of 13-19 year olds diagnosed with the AIDS virus increased by 35 percent and continued to rise steadily thereafter.

The Ad Council continued its commitment to promoting AIDS prevention with the launch of a new campaign in 1991 in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This campaign helped to inform teens that drugs, including alcohol, negatively affect judgment with regard to sexual behavior and often place young people at risk for AIDS. The public service advertising featured cartoon characters that experience anxiety during the morning after a party, and the tagline, "Get High. Get Stupid. Get AIDS."

Domestic Violence Prevention (1994 - Present)

In 1994, The Ad Council and The Family Violence Prevention Fund partnered to launch the Domestic
Violence Prevention campaign in an effort to reduce domestic violence by making it socially unacceptable.

The public service advertisements (PSAs) featured the tagline, "There's no excuse for domestic violence," and encouraged people to get involved in prevention efforts. At the time, domestic violence was the leading cause of serious injury to American women. In fact, according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, a woman was battered - by her husband or boyfriend - every nine seconds.

 Within 10 weeks of the campaign launch, 10,000 domestic violence prevention community action kits had been requested. Between 1995 and 1996, 34,000 calls were made to the campaign's toll-free hotline, and by 1997 the hotline had received 100,000 calls.

 A survey conducted by the Ad Council between November of 1994 and February of 1995 in markets airing the PSAs demonstrated their impact: 87% of respondents (up from 80%) felt that outside intervention was required in physical abuse cases, and only 18 percent (down from 29%) felt that intervening by calling the police would not be helpful.

I am an American (2001 - Present)

The idea for the "I am an American" public service advertisement was conceived on a road trip following the tragedies of September 11th. Air transportation was grounded after the terrorist attacks, and as a result, executives from  Austin, Texas ad agency GDS&M  found themselves stranded in Annapolis, Maryland, following a client meeting. Rather than waiting to catch a flight home, they decided to drive back to Texas. As they reflected on the tragic events of the day, they thought about what it is that makes America so unique.

Somewhere around Raleigh, their director proposed the idea of creating a PSA that would celebrate the country's extraordinary diversity. Fearing a possible backlash against Arab Americans and other ethnic groups after the attacks, they decided to communicate a message that would remind Americans that this was the time to unite as a country.

 By the next morning, broadcast producers at the agency were soliciting the help of directors, commercial producers and editors across the country. Everyone was eager to volunteer and filming began immediately in cities nationwide. The final version of the PSA features people of many ages, races and religions proudly stating "I Am an American." The spot ends with the words, E Pluribus Unum.

Company President,  Roy Spence,  contacted the Ad Council about the concept as soon as the group made it back to Austin. The Ad Council embraced the idea and for the first time in its history became the sole signatory of a PSA. "I am an American" was distributed to media broadcast outlets nationwide. The spot was on the air within 10 days of the attacks.

The response to the campaign has been unprecedented. In just the first three months, the media donated more than $14 million in time and space to air the spot. As a result of that media support, emails and phone calls poured in from hundreds of Americans around the world who were moved by the spot, and thanked the Ad Council for bringing such an important message to the country at this time.

Many of the emails were so heartening that they were compiled in a booklet and sent out to the volunteers who helped with the project.

 PSA's can be a powerful medium for beneficial change.  As I surveyed the long list of AD COUNCIL supported issues I really did not find one that I thought harmful.  And many, I felt, were noble!  However,  all PSA's should be taken in with a critical eye and ear....like if they start promoting PUT ON YOUR CAP AND TRADE!!  or..




 Be a friend. Be a mentor. Just be there." 


Take Time To Be A Dad Today!

 "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you.” "

Brought to you by THE AD COUNCIL


  1. huh!!! whow knew!! cool post!

  2. Well, ain't that a kick in the pants . . . had no idea who they were. Thanks for sharing. JRC