In honor of Smokey Bear’s 73rd birthday, the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters launched new digital-first videos and artwork inspired by Smokey Bear posters to raise awareness of lesser known wildfire starts in an effort to decrease human-caused wildfires.
FCB West developed pro bono public service announcements (PSAs) for Smokey Bear, longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history, since his birth in 1944.
“We’re thrilled to continue to evolve Smokey Bear’s beloved look and digital presence, while harkening back to the campaign’s beginning in the 1940s when we all fell in love with him. FCB has worked on this campaign for 73 years, representing the longest pro bono agency partnership in U.S. history, and these new videos and artwork beautifully extend Smokey’s message of personal responsibility,” shares Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of Ad Council.
Smokey Bear has been a recognized symbol of wildfire prevention since August 9, 1944. Although progress has been made, wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental issues affecting the U.S. On average, nearly nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide today are caused by people. In addition to the causes depicted in the new PSAs, the main causes of wildfire include campfires or warming fires being left unattended or improperly extinguished, debris burning on windy days, improper discarding of smoking materials or BBQ coals, and operating equipment without spark arrestors.
“Smokey Bear has long been synonymous with wildfire prevention education and the great outdoors. This new digital campaign unexpectedly brings Smokey Bear out of the woods and into engaging and relatable interactions with people. This evolution in the iconic figure of Smokey Bear brings him closer to a younger audience and further cements his reputation as wildfire prevention’s most loveable spokesperson,” said Joe Oh, CEO and President FCB West
The Ad Council will distribute the new digital-first videos and artwork across Smokey Bear’s social media channels as well as smokeybear.com and the new Spanish language website smokeybear.com/es. Per the organization’s model, the assets will be promoted and run in advertising time and space that is entirely donated. Over the last 73 years, media outlets have donated more than $1 billion in time and space for the Wildfire Prevention campaign.
You can see all the campaign’s video elements here.