NEW YORK, Oct. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Two of the Ad Council's most historic public service advertising (PSA) campaigns were voted by the public as a "Favorite Advertising Icon" and "Favorite Advertising Slogan," as part of Advertising Week 2014, the annual gathering of marketing and communication leaders in New York City. Winning the contest will put Smokey Bear and slogan "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" in the Advertising Walk of Fame alongside Madison Avenue, known for its numerous ad agency residents. The announcement was made earlier this week at the closing bell at NASDAQ in Times Square.
"We're thrilled that so many have come to know and love both Smokey Bear and the slogan 'Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk' over the decades. This recognition is an incredible example of how public service advertising can work its way into the American vernacular," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "But the true measure of great advertising is the impact it makes on the world, and both of these campaigns have gone a long way in moving minds and changing behaviors."
Created by the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and ad agency FCB West in 1944, Smokey Bear is the center of the wildfire prevention campaign, the longest and one of the most successful public service advertising (PSA) campaigns in the United States. Smokey—who celebrated his 70th birthday this past August— has helped reduce the number of acres burned annually by wildfires from 22 million in 1944 to an average of 6.7 million annually today. Since the launch of the campaign, media outlets have donated more than $2 billion in time and space for the ads with research showing that he is recognized by 96 percent of adults. In more recent years, Smokey has expanded his digital presence, gaining large followings on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
When the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first created the Drunk Driving Prevention campaign in 1983, more than 20,000 people were being killed each year in alcohol-related crashes. The campaign took the unique approach of targeting the intervener—first with the tagline, "Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship," which eventually evolved to the widely recognized "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." During the life of the campaign (1983-1999), the number of fatalities due to alcohol-related crashes dropped from 21,000 to 12,500 and even as of 2013, more than two thirds of American adults report having stopped a friend from driving while under the influence, speaking to the enormous impact of this intervener strategy.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube
SOURCE The Ad Council