New public service advertisements from the Ad Council, U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters is a continuation of the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history
Check out @smokey_bear's new PSAs featuring ash from real wildfires Tweet
PR Newswire, Washington, D.C., August 9, 2016
In honor of Smokey Bear’s 72nd birthday, the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) launched a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) that aim to help prevent wildfires nationwide by increasing awareness about less commonly known ways that wildfires can start. The new “Rise from the Ashes” campaign uses wildfire ashes as an artistic medium to illustrate the devastation caused by wildfires and highlight less obvious wildfire causes.
“Education is a critical part of reducing the number of unwanted, human-caused wildfires we experience every year,” said U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard. “We believe that this new iteration of Smokey Bear’s long-running PSA campaign will demonstrate campfires are not the only way to start a wildfire and that Smokey Bear is counting on them to take action to prevent accidental fire starts.”
“More than 76,000 American communities are at risk of being directly impacted by wildfire. As more people live in and alongside forests and other natural areas, Smokey Bear’s message of personal responsibility remains a critical tool to help reduce risk to our citizens. The new public service announcements will help teach wildland-urban interface residents and outdoor enthusiasts about wildfire causes that many of us may have never thought were risky,” said Paul DeLong, Wisconsin State Forester and President of the National Association of State Foresters.
The new television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs were created pro bono by FCB West, the same ad agency that has developed PSAs for Smokey Bear since his birth. The new PSAs, along with an extensive social media program, show how lesser-known wildfire starts such as unattended fire pits and barbeque coals, metal chains dragging from a moving vehicle, and parking over tall, dry grass can spark a wildfire. The campaign depicts the impact that wildfires from unexpected sources can have on communities. The scenarios in the television PSAs play out in reverse with the ashes rising up and Smokey Bear stepping into the situation to help show the correct preventative action that should be taken to avoid igniting a wildfire. The print PSA executions include artwork created by award-winning travel writer and photographer Bill Fink, who used ashes from an actual wildfire.
“The poignant imagery of ashes from a wildfire that could have been prevented, rising to become what they once were, is exceptionally moving. We hope this new campaign will cause many to reconsider what they think they know about how wildfires can start and take note of wildfire prevention tips being offered by Smokey Bear,” shares Lisa Sherman, Ad Council president and CEO, on the new creative.
Smokey Bear has been a recognized symbol of protection of America’s forests since August 9th, 1944, making him part of the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history. Although progress has been made, human-caused wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental and public safety issues affecting U.S communities. Many Americans believe that lightning starts most wildfires when in fact, on average, nearly nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide today are caused by people. In addition to the causes depicted in the new PSAs, the main causes of wildfire include campfires being left unattended or improperly extinguished, debris burning on windy days, improper discarding of smoking materials or BBQ coals, and operating equipment without spark arrestors.
“We loved finding a unique way to work with the iconic figure of Smokey Bear to give people a sense of personal responsibility around wildfire prevention. Through our campaign Spark A Change, Not A Wildfire, we use ashes as a powerful reminder and creative device to exemplify the unintended devastation of human-caused wildfires and bring that message closer to home. We hope that this campaign inspires consumers to take a more proactive and preventative approach,” says FCB West Chief Creative Officer Karin Onsager-Birch.
The new PSAs direct audiences to visit a newly refreshed website redesigned by Jacksonville-based advertising and public relations agency, St. John & Partners. The site, www.SmokeyBear.com, encourages visitors to take a wildfire prevention pledge and learn more about wildfire prevention. The redesign places a heavy emphasis on educational content and vibrant imagery, featuring infographics with a mobile-first strategic focus allowing for easy social sharing from nearly every page. Smokey Bear is also continuing to encourage people to be proactive in preventing wildfires through his social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Per the Ad Council’s organizational model, the new PSAs will air and run in advertising time and space that is entirely donated by the media. Over the last 72 years, media outlets have donated more than $1 billion in time and space for the Wildfire Prevention campaign.
U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Serviceis the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council. The U.S. Forest Service 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.
National Association of State Foresters
Established in 1920, the National Association of State Foresters is a non-profit organization composed of the directors of forestry agencies in the states, territories and the District of Columbia. State forestry agencies in cooperation with federal agencies are the primary delivery system for forestry activities in the United States. As a partner with the U.S. Forest Service, State Foresters are committed to the continued delivery of Smokey Bear’s message of personal responsibility in wildfire prevention.
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.
FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Based on a deeply developed understanding of diversified local markets and global cultures, FCB focuses on significantly changing consumer behavior to the benefit of its clients, its people and society. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@FCBglobal) and Facebook (FCB Global).
Casey Warnick, The Ad Council, 212-808-1509, email@example.com
U.S. Forest Service Press Office, 202-205-1134
Amanda Cooke, National Association of State Foresters, 202-624-5417, firstname.lastname@example.org