The Ad Council has launched the third round of its "Campaign for Freedom" initiative, challenging Americans to actively exercise their freedom by participating in their communities.
The TV, radio and print public service announcements were sent out Wednesday to over 20,000 media outlets.
The first two phases of the campaign, which started after 9/11, encouraged Americans to appreciate their freedom. This round of ads exhorts Americans to “Keep Freedom Strong. Exercise It” by getting involved.
Some of the PSAs carry what the Ad Council refers to as an “ironic tone” that borders on a guilt-trip. One radio announcement says, “Just cancel your subscription to the paper. Why waste a stamp on a letter to the editor? Don’t tape political cartoons to your fridge. And stop worrying about censorship. While you’re at it, turn off the news, pipe down, and step aside, spectator.
“When you ignore the benefits of a free press, you miss out...Your freedom thrives only when you use it.”
Feeling guilty? Join the crowd. According to a recent Ad Council study, only 17% of Americans say they are doing something to take advantage of the freedoms they have by, presumably, staying active in community groups and other civic activities.
The ads send the other guilt-ridden 83% to www.explorefreedomusa.org. The Web site is divided into three areas: learning, hearing, and doing. It offers ways to support, defend, and participate in freedom, from debates to community involvement to updates on current events.
The creative new television, radio, and print PSAs were designed by graduate advertising students at Virginia Commonwealth University Adcenter, led by Rick Boyko, Managing Director and Professor. The Martin Agency oversaw production.
Since shortly after 9/11, the Ad Council has been airing PSAs dedicated to reminding Americans that our freedom is something to cherish.
At first they offered simple messages of hope and encouragement, then concentrated on expressing the uniqueness of American freedom.
To date, Peggy Conlon, Ad Council president and CEO, says the organization has received over $188 million in donated media for the campaign.