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November 23, 2015

Ad Council Retools Public-Service Spots for Social-Media Age

New, multiplatform public-service campaigns by the Advertising Council show how the venerable nonprofit communications agency is evolving in an era of sophisticated social-media efforts to promote causes and interests, The New York Times writes.

Founded during World War II, the Ad Council was the country's first creator of public service announcements, and its commercials have added slogans such as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" and "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste" to the American lexicon. It remains the dominant player in the field, running 35 to 40 campaigns at a time and boosting revenue from $17.8 million in 2000 to $44.3 million this year.

The council's latest efforts include "I Am a Witness," an antibullying campaign focusing on digital communications and built around an emoji, and "Love Has No Labels," which uses video storytelling to draw attention to unconscious racial, age, and gender bias. The council's recently announced Creators for Good program enlists "influencers" with more than 1.5 million followers on YouTube and other platforms to adopt its campaigns.