Posted on December 10, 2002
The Advertising Council, Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer
PND NPO Spotlight (12/10/02) -- The Advertising Council, Inc.
To identify a select number of significant public issues and stimulate action on those issues through communications programs that make a measurable difference in society.
The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization with a sixty-year history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Since creating the category of public service advertisements (PSAs) in 1942, the organization has played an increasingly critical role in our changing society. Founded as the War Advertising Council to rally support for World War II-related efforts, the Ad Council's earliest achievements included campaigns such as "Loose Lips Sink Ships" and "Rosie the Riveter." After the war, President Roosevelt asked the War Ad Council to continue as a peacetime organization to help solve the most pressing issues of the day.
The Ad Council has created timely and compelling public service messages for generations of Americans. Ad Council icons and slogans are woven into the very fabric of American culture from Smokey Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" and McGruff the Crime Dog's "Take A Bite Out of Crime" to the United Negro College Fund's "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" and "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk."
The Ad Council's current campaign docket consists of approximately forty national campaigns sponsored by nonprofit organizations or government agencies. The campaigns address issues ranging from environmental preservation to colorectal cancer awareness to the prevention of child abuse.
In 1995, the Ad Council adopted a ten-year initiative to help Americans who can't speak for themselves children. Dubbed "Commitment 2000," its objective is to raise awareness and stimulate individuals to take positive action, so that U.S. children will have a better chance of achieving their full potential.
In addition, after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Ad Council returned to its wartime footing to communicate critical messages to Americans just as it had during World War II. PSAs such as "I am an American" helped the nation to embrace its diversity and unite in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Shortly thereafter, the Ad Council announced its "Campaign for Freedom," an initiative representing the advertising industry, to oversee the development of PSA campaigns that would continue to inform, involve, and inspire the American people.
The Ad Council also holds a seminar series every two years in an effort to share its best kept secrets of public service advertising with the nonprofit community, government agencies, and communications professionals. Initiated in 2000, the seminar provides information about the components of developing effective public service communications, including research, marketing, media outreach, and the evaluation of campaign results. The 2003 Ad Council Seminar Series will take place on May 8-9, 2003, in Washington, D.C.
The Ad Council's public service advertising campaigns are more than memorable they raise awareness, inspire individuals to take action, and save lives. Smokey Bear has helped reduce the acreage of land lost annually to forest fires from 22 million to 4 million, and since the Drunk Driving Prevention campaign was launched in 1983, 70 percent of Americans have tried to stop someone from driving drunk. The Crash Test Dummies, Vince and Larry, have helped increase seat belt usage from 21 percent to 73 percent since 1985, saving an estimated 75,000 lives. And since the United Negro College Fund campaign began thirty years ago, more than $1.9 billion has been raised, helping hundreds of thousands of minority students to graduate from college. Additionally, the media industry continues to increase its donations of valuable advertising time and space to Ad Council campaigns. In 2001, total donated media was valued at more than $1.5 billion, exceeding $1 billion for the fourth consecutive year.
The Ad Council's Web site serves as a comprehensive resource for information on some of the nation's most critical social issues, and in doing so, it extends the organization's public service messages. Recognizing the increasing importance of the Internet as a resource for information and a tool for social change, the Ad Council re-launched its site in 2002 with a new design and additional content intended for a wide range of users.
As a private, nonprofit organization, the Ad Council receives general operating contributions from more than 375 individuals, corporations, foundations, and constituent organizations.