This week’s guest blog post is abstracted from the original for The Data Summit 2017 thought leadership journal.
The idea for the Ad Council was born in November 1941. Days later, with the entry of the U.S. into World War II, it was christened The War Advertising Council and soon created a campaign to sell War Bonds.
More than 70 years and hundreds of campaigns later, the Ad Council remains America’s leading producer of public service communications.
Some of the Ad Council’s most memorable campaigns include:
Since 1942, the Ad Council has offered trusted advice and inspiring calls to action. In fact, they created the category of public-service advertising and their icons and slogans are woven into the very fabric of American culture. The Ad Council is where Smokey Bear lives. The Ad Council saw that, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” and reminded Americans that, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”
Today, the Ad Council continues raising awareness and inspiring action on a diversity of issues, from texting and driving to autism awareness. They connect with Americans across ever-expanding communication channels to inspire, inform and save lives.
A private, non-profit organization, the Ad Council focuses on approximately 50 national campaigns at a time, each sponsored by non-profit organizations or federal government agencies.
The Ad Council doesn’t just produce TV PSAs; in fact, they are responsible for marshaling talents and resources across the entire media, marketing and tech sector to produce full, 360-degree multimedia campaigns.
That includes a large presence in digital and social, as well as leveraging data and insights to better plan, implement and assess the effectiveness of their campaigns, to make sure their messages reach the widest audience and have the greatest impact. That’s one of the reasons that the Ad Council team looks forward to working with experts and innovators like Oracle Data Cloud.
In 2015, they secured more than $1.6B in donated media on behalf of all their campaigns. This means that, on average, each campaign received $30MM in donated advertising time and space for the year.
Most Americans agree that people should be treated respectfully and fairly. Yet, many people in the U.S. still report feeling discriminated against. For example, one in five LGBT people report feeling there is little or no acceptance of their community. Six in ten Latinos report that discrimination is a major problem, and a majority of African Americans report they are unsatisfied with the way they are treated in society.
The reason might be that we’re actually discriminating unintentionally—some call this implicit bias. We do 98 percent of our thinking in our subconscious mind, and that’s where we collect and store implicit biases. Implicit bias influences how we treat people and how we interact with each other.
More broadly, it can perpetuate disparities by impacting someone’s ability to find a job, secure a loan, rent an apartment or get a fair trial. To end bias, we need to become aware of it. And then we need to do everything within our power to stop it in ourselves, in others and in institutions. The world will be a better place for it.
Starting in 2016, “We Are America,” an extension of the iconic “Love Has No Labels” campaign, aims to flood culture with images of counter-bias love to communicate an important and inspiring message: to love America is to love all Americans. New PSAs, featuring WWE Superstar John Cena, continue to further acceptance of all communities regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.
Learn more about the campaign at lovehasnolabels.com.
The Ad Council conducts public-service advertising campaigns with the help of volunteer ad agencies who donate their creative talents and energy, the media who contribute—for free—valuable ad space and time, and the philanthropic support of corporations, foundations and individuals who provide the crucial operating funds that make the Ad Council’s good work possible.
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