WASHINGTON, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and re-connect with nature, the USDA Forest Service and the Ad Council are joining DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring characters from DreamWorks Animation's beloved Shrek films. Hank Kashdan, Associate Chief of the Forest Service, will unveil the PSAs on June 11 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in coordination with National Get Outdoors Day (June 12). The ads will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this week.
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Children in the U.S. spend fifty percent less time outdoors than they did twenty years ago, according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. As a result of this limited interaction with the outdoors, many children are unaware of the benefits that nature provides, including improving their physical and mental health and emotional well-being. Research shows that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future.
"I am very pleased that Shrek is joining the Forest Service team to encourage children to get outdoors and learn about all the neat things forests have to offer," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "It's important for parents and their children to enjoy the great outdoors. And let's not forget, children are the future generations that will learn to love and protect these important lands."
Launched in June 2009, the Re-connecting Kids with Nature campaign primarily aims to reach "tweens" (children aged 8-12) and their parents. The goal is to encourage children to get outside and experience nature first-hand, instilling a life-long love for nature by fostering a connection with urban and national forests. Created pro bono by DreamWorks Animation and Turbine Boost, the new television, radio, outdoor and Web PSAs feature Shrek interacting with children in the forest and encourage audiences to "get outside and explore nature" because "there are surprises everywhere." Additionally, the Brigham Young University Ad Lab developed a second series of radio, outdoor and Web ads to further engage tweens in the message.
All of the PSAs direct parents and children to visit the campaign's website, www.DiscoverTheForest.org, where they can find ideas for outdoor activities, as well as educational and conservation information. Additionally, families can access an interactive tool (now also available on mobile devices), powered by Nature Find™ and Google Maps, where they can search for nearby forests and parks. This week, the site will also include a "Book of Stuff to Do Outside" featuring characters from Shrek, which was developed with DreamWorks Animation's partner Hewlett Packard.
"These new PSAs and campaign materials are a wonderful extension of our efforts with the U.S. Forest Service to motivate children to spend more time outdoors," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "We are grateful to DreamWorks Animation for developing these ads featuring Shrek and we believe this beloved character will continue to encourage children and families to discover the many benefits that nature and the forest provide."
"At DreamWorks Animation we are proud to support the Ad Council's ongoing efforts to encourage kids and families to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer," said Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing for DreamWorks Animation. "Shrek – whose love of the outdoors makes for an authentic fit with the message of the Forest Service – serves as the inspiration for the creative concept behind this unique series of custom-animated public service announcements."
The new PSAs will be promoted through an integrated social media program on Facebook and Twitter and through other online outreach. Visit the campaign's online communities on www.facebook.com/discovertheforest and www.twitter.com/cheecker.
The new PSAs are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. Since last year, media outlets have donated more than $22 million in time and space for the campaign.
As an extension of the campaign, this fall the Ad Council and the Forest Service, in collaboration with JMH Education, will distribute a comprehensive school curriculum to elementary school teachers in an effort to educate children about the forest and encourage them to re-connect with nature.
In addition to the campaign website, www.DiscoverTheForest.org, parents and children can visit www.NationalGetOutdoorsDay.org for more information on the National Get Outdoors Day events nearest to them.
USDA Forest Service
The USDA Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us) manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American Public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The USDA Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and The Advertising Council. The Wildfire Prevention campaign, featuring Smokey Bear, is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history.
The Advertising Council
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.
DreamWorks Animation creates high-quality entertainment, including CG animated feature films, television specials and series, live entertainment properties and online virtual worlds, meant for audiences around the world. The Company has world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced filmmaking technology and techniques. DreamWorks Animation has been named one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by FORTUNE® Magazine for two consecutive years. In 2010, DreamWorks Animation ranks #6 on the list. All of DreamWorks Animation's feature films are now being produced in 3D. The Company has theatrically released a total of 20 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. DreamWorks Animation's next feature film is Megamind, scheduled to be released in 3D on November 5, 2010.
SOURCE The Ad Council