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Podcast: A Force For Good In Advertising


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If you’re looking for proof that advertising can be a force for good in the world, look no further than the Ad Council. The non-profit draws more than $1 billion in donated media annually, and creatively its work is some of the most celebrated in advertising.

This week on AdExchanger Talks, we hear CEO Lisa Sherman about some of its most iconic public service announcements – dating back to 1941 – and how the Ad Council is using data and technology to power the next generation of PSAs.

Its most famous campaigns include “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” with Smokey Bear (the longest-running PSA in history), “Help Take A Bite Outta Crime” with McGruff the Crime Dog, the Crash Test Dummies and many others. In contemporary campaigns, it has focused on opioid addiction, teen mental health, Alzheimer’s awareness and gun safety.

In recent years, media fragmentation has made it harder to build universally recognized campaigns of the sort that the Ad Council has become known for. On the other hand, Sherman says the mission has been aided by new technology and targeting capabilities.

“The combination of more ways to reach people and the power of the technologies … allows us to do targeting in more precise ways that we’ve ever been able to do before,” she says. “We have the benefit and the good fortune of partnering with almost every media and technology platform that’s out there that really want to use their platforms for good. For any particular issue, we understand who we’re trying to reach and they can really help us to target and reach those folks.”

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