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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Ad Council Creates Campaigns We Remember

Aired October 22, 2001 - 06:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: In the first horrible moments after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, the nation was in shock.

CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: It didn't take long for people from sea to shining sea to rally around the flag and reassert their patriotism.

CNN's Bruce Burkhardt has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an American.

BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four simple words, "I am an American." Powerful words that have resonated with an American public that once thought of itself as African-American, Hispanic-American, Irish-American, or any number of other hyphens. Now the hyphen, it seems, is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am an American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an American.

BURKHARDT: This PSA, a public service announcement, was rushed onto the air following September 11 by an organization called the Ad Council. And if you're not familiar with them, you probably know quite well some of their other creations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People start pollution. People can stop it. BURKHARDT: That's just a small sampling of some of the most memorable and enduring advertising campaigns of the past 50 years. Advertising that isn't selling cookies or cars or computers but something else.

PEGGY CONLON, PRESIDENT, AD COUNCIL: The objective of the Ad Council is to identify important social issues and use the power of advertising to create positive social change.

BURKHARDT (on camera): That is its mission now, as it was back in 1942 when the Ad Council was founded. Only back then, it had a different name, a name that seems like it might be appropriate once again.

CONLON: The concept at the time, it was called the War Advertising Council in the beginning, was to work with the Office of War Information and to get important messages out to the American people using advertising.

SINGING: Working for victory, Rosie the Riveter.

BURKHARDT: The War Advertising Council gave us Rosie the Riveter, Victory Gardens, war bond campaigns and the slogan "Loose Lips Sink Ships." All highly effective campaigns that not only marshaled public support for the war effort but in some cases, introduced permanent changes in the social fabric.

CONLON: Just as Rosie the Riveter back during World War II is responsible for getting two million women into the workforce, I think I am an American is going to have a legacy going forward, that really does celebrate what it means to be an American.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Talk with your kids.

BURKHARDT: The creative and production work for the ads is done for free by top advertising agencies. The "I am an American" ad was done by GSD&M of Austin, Texas. The Media Times also donated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night Billy was saying what about changing it to innocent Americans because that, in a way, even compounds the message.

BURKHARDT: Often celebrities lend their voice. At this meeting, actress Mary Louise Parker is discussing the script for a spot she wants to do discouraging hate crimes and prejudice against Arab- Americans.

MARY LOUISE PARKER, ACTRESS: To stop some of the hatred -- well, hopefully all of the hatred at some point.

BURKHARDT: A tall order but never underestimate the power of advertising.

JOEY REIMAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: What the Ad Council does and what these public service advertisements do, is show advertising at its best. BURKHARDT: Joey Reiman is a former ad man and author and teaches marketing at the Goysetta Business School with Emory University.

REIMAN: It creates inspiration again. It inspires us, breathes life into what we can be versus motivating us to buy stuff. In a sense, this kind of work creates a better person, not a buying person. And that's a different motivation.

BURKHARDT (on camera): And that different motivation might explain the two sides of the advertising coin. Frequently, it's simply a mirror that reflects back to us our culture and values, not always a pretty sight.

But the other side most frequently seen in PSAs is its ability to actually set the agenda, define who we think we are or who we want to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The toughest job you will ever love.

BURKHARDT (voice-over): In many ways, it's what America does best, sell, market, but usually just to ourselves. Now it's become painfully obvious that another market has been overlooked. To try and counter some of the anti-American fervor in parts of the world, the State Department is in early discussions with the Ad Council about creating messages for a non-American audience. It could be America's most potent weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an American.

BURKHARDT: Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CALLAWAY: The Ad Council has a way of grabbing a line that we just can't forget, don't they?

HARRIS: Exactly, and I noticed that and remembered almost all of those that they put through just there.

CALLAWAY: Yes, every one of them.

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