NBC's TODAY Joins Ad Council for "TODAY Takes Action," a Weeklong Series Debut of Public Service Ads Featuring TODAY's Anchors

New TV Ads Promote Fatherhood Involvement (Matt Lauer); Hunger Prevention (Savannah Guthrie); Emergency Preparedness (Al Roker); and Shelter Pet Adoption (Natalie Morales)

Feb 12, 2013, 09:49 ET from The Ad Council

NEW YORK, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today and airing throughout the week, NBC's TODAY will debut a series of television public service ads, (PSAs) featuring TODAY's anchors, on behalf of four social issues—fatherhood involvement, hunger prevention, emergency preparedness and shelter pet adoption.  The ads were created pro bono by leading advertising agencies throughout the country in partnership with the Ad Council, a non-profit and leading producer of PSA campaigns for over 70 years. TODAY's anchors personally selected the social issues they are supporting among the Ad Council's 50 national campaigns, and participated in brainstorming sessions with the ad agencies to help inform the creative.

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The weeklong series, called "TODAY Takes Action," will feature an intimate look at each social issue, a behind-the-scenes "making of the PSA" segment showing the collaborative effort of the campaign development process, and the premiere of the highly produced PSAs created on behalf of the four award-winning campaigns:

  • Matt Lauer and Fatherhood Involvement—The father of three children, Matt Lauer is featured in a PSA that reminds dads of the critical role they play in their children's lives. The campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) and was created pro bono by Detroit-based ad agency Campbell Ewald. Actor Tom Selleck provides the voiceover for the campaign tagline "Take Time to Be a Dad Today."
  • Savannah Guthrie and Hunger Prevention—Hunger affects one in six Americans. Savannah Guthrie appears in a new TV spot, directed by award-winning filmmaker Joe Pytka, which encourages all Americans to get involved in being part of the solution. The Hunger Prevention campaign was created pro bono by San Francisco-based ad agency Cutwater on behalf of Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief organization.
  • Al Roker and Emergency Preparedness—America's most famous weatherman, Al Roker, is featured in a new TV spot as part of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)'s Ready campaign, designed to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare in advance of emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. While 60% of Americans agree it's important for all Americans to be prepared for natural or man-made disasters, only 15% of Americans believe they are prepared for a disaster situation. The PSA directs viewers to make a plan at Ready.gov and was created pro bono by ad agency Leo Burnett in Chicago.
  • Natalie Morales and Shelter Pet Adoption—Natalie Morales adopted her dog, Zara, after doing a pet adoption segment for TODAY in April 2011 and is very passionate about the issue. Developed in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund® and created pro bono by ad agency Draftfcb in Chicago, The Shelter Pet Project is the first national PSA campaign that brings together the largest animal welfare organizations and shelters across the country to promote the adoption of shelter pets nationwide. Actress Jenna Elfman provides the voiceover for Zara in the new TV spot.

The new PSAs are being distributed to NBC stations nationwide next week. The production costs for the PSAs have been provided by the Ad Council's non-profit and federal government partners. NBC is also featuring content about the series on TODAY website and you can follow the series on Twitter at #TODAYTakesAction.

"As you will see from the new TV spots, Matt, Savannah, Al and Natalie have a genuine commitment to the issues addressed by their PSAs and they enthusiastically gave us their valuable time, talent and hearts for the ads," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "We know from our experience the incredible power of advertising to impact American lives, and I believe these PSAs will play a significant role in raising awareness of these critically important issues, while entertaining audiences."

Since 1942, the Ad Council has been creating memorable campaigns aimed at improving the lives of the American people. Ad Council icons and slogans are woven into the very fabric of American culture. With campaigns ranging from "Loose Lips Sink Ships" to Smokey Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" and "A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste" – Ad Council PSAs have been raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives for seventy years. Media partners generously donate $1.5 billion per year of advertising time and space to Ad Council campaigns, which would establish the organization among the top ten advertisers in the country.

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