Press Release

Parry Gripp’s New Puppet Rock Band “The Breathe Easies” Star in Music Videos to Help the Seven Million Children in the U.S. Who Have Asthma

September 17, 2013

Ad Council and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Join The Barbarian Group and Buck for National Campaign to Educate Parents about Asthma Triggers

Washington, DC, September 17, 2013 — Seven million children in the United States have asthma and nearly two-thirds of them will experience an asthma attack this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In an effort to educate parents of children with asthma about simple steps they can take to prevent attacks, the Ad Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the launch of a series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring a new band of puppet characters called “The Breathe Easies.” The campaign includes a series of online videos, radio PSAs and Web banners, available in English and Spanish, featuring the band performing songs about asthma triggers. The songs were written and recorded by YouTube star and singer-songwriter Parry Gripp.

“The Breathe Easies” – the world’s first asthma-centric rock band – were conceived of by New York-based ad agency The Barbarian Group. The band, which is comprised of three puppet characters designed and built specially for the PSA campaign by award-winning production company Buck, delivers messages about asthma triggers in a trio of songs. Viewers and listeners are informed about ways to prevent attacks such as cleaning up mold, not smoking in the house and vacuuming the floor, and directed to find more tips by visiting NoAttacks.org. Each song is introduced by band manager, Goldie the goldfish, a modern spin on the EPA’s iconic fish featured in their Childhood Asthma PSAs for the last 12 years.

“Too many Americans, particularly children, minorities and people living in poverty suffer from asthma, spending their time at doctor visits and hospitals instead of at school, work and play,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “By working together with the Ad Council and other partners in communities across the country, we can make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans dealing with asthma.”

Nearly one-third of the 26 million Americans suffering with asthma are children. African-American and Hispanic children are disproportionately affected. Asthma causes children to miss 11 million school days each year, according to an estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although asthma has no known cure, experts agree that reducing exposure to certain environmental factors, or triggers, can reduce the frequency of attacks.

“This campaign is a wonderful and entertaining continuation of our efforts with EPA to help reduce asthma attacks in children,” said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “The brilliant collaboration between Barbarian, Buck and Parry Gripp yielded a unique and lovable campaign that will appeal to both parents and children and, ultimately, help eliminate more asthma triggers in the home.”

The Ad Council is distributing the new radio and web PSAs to its network of more than 12,000 media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the PSAs will air in advertising time that is donated by the media. The online videos will live on NoAttacks.org, and also be posted on YouTube, other video sharing sites and Parry Gripp’s social channels.

"We wanted to create a positive radio and web campaign that appeals to both parents and children" said co-founder and CEO of The Barbarian Group, Benjamin Palmer. "By creating a puppet band that performs catchy songs about easy, preventative behaviors, we're delivering a serious message in a fun way."

Buck is an award-winning motion graphics production company known for their visually compelling commercial and animation work for clients such as Google, Sherwin Williams and MTV. In addition to Buck’s design expertise, the company has a particular focus on puppetry and children’s television. The team worked with puppeteers to capture live action footage for the new YouTube videos.

Parry Gripp is lead vocalist and guitarist for the pop punk band Nerf Herder, a notable singer-songwriter and one of YouTube’s most popular musicians. His hits include “Chimpanzee on a Segway,” “Baby Bunny,” “Baby Monkey,” and “Nom Nom Nom.” Many of Parry Gripp’s songs have garnered millions of YouTube views, appealing to both adults and children. Parry wrote and recorded all of the songs featured in the new campaign.

The new PSAs are an extension of the Ad Council and EPA’s Childhood Asthma campaign first launched in 2001. Since the campaign’s debut, the percentage of parents who feel they can make “a lot of difference” in preventing asthma attacks has risen by 18 points (from 49 percent to 67 percent), according to the Ad Council’s tracking surveys. Additionally, the PSAs have received $365 million in donated media to date and the campaign website received more than 24 million visits.

For more information about the campaign visit www.noattacks.org or follow the campaign at facebook.com/EPA and Twitter @EPA.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. EPA is a federal agency founded in 1970 that is committed to safeguarding the environment and human health. In 1999 EPA created a national, multi-faceted asthma education and outreach program in response to the growing asthma problem. This effort stresses the importance of incorporating environmental management into asthma education, outreach and management strategies. EPA has a variety of other initiatives that encourage people to take preventive actions to improve the quality of the environment and public health. You can learn more about EPA’s work on asthma at its website epa.gov/asthma.

BARBARIAN

Founded in 2001 and a subsidiary of Cheil Worldwide, The Barbarian Group provides end-to-end marketing services to clients including GE, Samsung, PepsiCo and Beam Spirits. The digital creative agency -- which recently won the inaugural Cannes Lions Innovation Grand Prix for its pioneering software, Cinder -- helps brands navigate a world where the Internet has won and become a central driving force behind culture and commerce.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook.com/adcouncil, follow us on Twitter @adcouncil or view our PSAs on YouTube.

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