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About Ad Council

Affecting Positive Social Change

The Ad Council has endeavored to improve the lives of all Americans since first creating the category of public service advertising in 1942. From our earliest efforts including "Loose Lips Sink Ships" to the more recent "I am an American," Ad Council PSAs have been raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives for more than 65 years.

Based on our long history of effecting positive change, it's fair to say that Ad Council campaigns have inspired several generations of Americans. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that future generations will reap the benefits of our efforts to date, and continue to be inspired by our public service campaigns in the future.

Watch this short video, and hear for yourself the ways in which public service advertising has impacted lives. People from across the country have stories to tell of how our work is affecting real and meaningful change.

Primary Activities

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council produces, distributes and promotes thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventative health, education, community well being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

A Mirror of Society

A review of the Ad Council's campaign dockets through the years demonstrates the organization's commitment to address the most pressing social issues of the day. To that end, the Ad Council campaign docket is adjusted to mirror changes in our society. However, although the docket changes, the organization's commitment to the nation and to its people remains clear and constant.

Ad Council icons and slogans are woven into the very fabric of American culture -- Smokey Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," The Crash Test Dummies: "You Could Learn A lot from a Dummy," McGruff the Crime Dog's: "Take A Bite Out of Crime," and of course, "A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste," and "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" - just to name a few.

It's All about The Results!

Although most Americans can assuredly recite Ad Council slogans, Ad Council PSAs are not just memorized. They mobilize. The results of our campaigns testify to the power of the Ad Council's messages to make lasting and positive social change.

  • Applications for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors soared from 90,000 a year to 620,000 in nine months, a seven-fold increase in the number of inquiries to Big Brothers/Big Sisters agencies.
  • Ready.gov received more than 18 million unique visitors within the first ten months of the launch of the Department of Homeland Security's preparedness campaign.
  • 68% of Americans say that they have personally stopped someone who had been drinking from driving. The old saying "One more for the Road," has been replaced with "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk."
  • Safety belt usage is up from 14% to 79% since our Safety Belt campaign launched in 1985 - saving an estimated 85,000 lives, and $3.2 billion in costs to society.
  • Since 1972, The United Negro College Fund campaign has helped the organization raise more than $2.2 billion to graduate 350,000 minority students from college with the help of the "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" slogan.
  • 6,000 Children were paired with a mentor in just the first 18 months of our mentoring campaign.
  • Destruction of our forests by wildfires has been reduced from 22 million acres to less than 8.4 million acres per year, since our Forest Fire Prevention campaign began.
  • The amount of total waste recycled increased 24.4% from 1995 to 2000, and 385.4% from the 1980s after the launch of the Environmental Defense campaign.

Results such as these inspire the Ad Council to continue the work of its founders and rouse the passion of its successors to ensure that future generations of Americans will flourish from the positive changes the Ad Council has initiated.