Ad Council

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Ad Council
IndustryPublic Service Announcements
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States
Jump to: navigation, search
Ad Council
IndustryPublic Service Announcements
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., United States

The Advertising Council, commonly known as the Ad Council, is an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various sponsors, including non-profit organizations and agencies of the United States government.[1]

The Advertising Council generally does not produce public service advertisements itself, rather, it acts as a coordinator and distributor. The Advertising Council accepts requests from sponsor organizations for advertising campaigns that focus on particular social issues. To qualify, an issue must be non-partisan (though not necessarily unbiased) and have national relevance. The Advertising Council then assigns each campaign to a volunteer advertising agency that produces the actual advertisements. Finally, the Advertising Council distributes the finished advertisements to media outlets.



The Advertising Council was conceived in 1941, and shortly after, in February 1942, it was incorporated as the War Advertising Council (WAC) for the purpose of mobilizing the advertising industry in support of the war effort. Early campaigns encouraged the purchase of war bonds and conservation of war materials.[2]

After the conclusion of the Second World War the War Advertising Council changed its name to the Advertising Council and shifted its focus to peacetime campaigns. In 1945, the Ad Council began working with the National Safety Council.[2]

Famous campaigns

The "We Can Do It!" poster was used by the Ad Council for its 70th anniversary celebration, through a Facebook app called "Rosify Yourself". The historic image was not produced by the War Advertising Council.

The Ad Council claimed the 1943 "We Can Do It!" poster (associated with Rosie the Riveter after 1982) was developed by the WAC as part of its "Women in War Jobs" campaign.[2][3] In February 2012 during the Ad Council's 70th anniversary celebration, an interactive application designed by Animax's HelpsGood digital agency was linked to the Ad Council's Facebook page. The Facebook app was called "Rosify Yourself" and it allowed viewers to upload images of their faces to be incorporated into the "We Can Do It!" poster, then saved to be shared with friends. Ad Council President and CEO Peggy Conlon posted her own "Rosified" face on Huffington Post in an article about the Ad Council's past 70 years of public service.[4] The staff of the TV show Today posted two "Rosified" images on their website, using the faces of news anchors Matt Lauer and Ann Curry.[5] However, the now-famous poster was actually produced by an internal Westinghouse corporate program as part of a series of posters shown to Westinghouse employees for two weeks then discarded. It was not produced by the Ad Council nor was it used for recruiting women workers.[6]

Organizations with campaigns done by the Ad Council

Relationship with Disney

Many recent Ad Council PSAs predominantly use Disney characters, such as Baby Einstein for the LATCH System for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pinocchio and The Jungle Book for MyPyramid, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears for Smokey Bear, Cinderella for child booster seats by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Little Einsteins for art instruction.


Radio show host/Comedian Adam Carolla has many times taken umbrage with the Ad Council on both his show, The Adam Carolla Show and Loveline, stating that they do not provide any value, and that the topics they choose to provide statements on are not real issues that affect Americans, such as airplane turbulence, or are issues that an ad on public radio could not possibly do anything about, such as housing discrimination. Furthermore, Carolla has stated that this valuable time taken up could be used to enlighten Americans on topics such as teen pregnancy and options, or illiteracy, topics that have a much more significant impact on society.[9]

Given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government, it has been labeled by Robert Griffith as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government."[10]

The Ad Council has been further criticized for distracting the public by focusing on individual lifestyle changes, rather than on the need to fix social problems by changing institutions, such as the Ad Council's many corporate sponsors, or the government and military, whose campaigns the Ad Council has also promoted.[11]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Ad Council. "About Ad Council". Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Story of the Ad Council". Ad Council. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Ad Council. Retrieved September 24, 2012. "Working in tandem with the Office of War Information, the Ad Council created campaigns such as Buy War Bonds, Plant Victory Gardens, 'Loose Lips Sink Ships,' and Rosie the Riveter's 'We Can Do it.'" 
  4. ^ Conlon, Peggy (February 13, 2012). "Happy Birthday Ad Council! Celebrating 70 Years of Public Service Advertising". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Plaza sign of the day: Matt as Rosie the Riveter". Today (MSN Allday Today). February 13, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ Kimble, James J.; Olson, Lester C. (Winter 2006). "Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth and Misconception in J. Howard Miller's 'We Can Do It!' Poster". Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9 (4): 533–569.  Also available through Highbeam.
  7. ^
  8. ^ New PSAs: 'FWD' Awareness About the Horn of Africa Crisis. Ad Age. October 26, 2011.
  9. ^ The Adam Carolla Show, 7-17-2007
  10. ^ Barnhart, Megan (2009). Mariner, Rosemary B.; Piehler, G. Kurt. eds. The Atomic Bomb and American Society: New Perspectives. University of Tennessee Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-57233-648-3. 
  11. ^ Ewall, Mike. "Occupy Earth Day: An Expose of the Corporate Propaganda Systems that Undermine Systemic Change Activism". 

See also

External links