Press Release

Smokey Bear and “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” Inducted into Advertising Week Walk of Fame

New York, October 1, 2014 –Two of the Ad Council’s most historic public service advertising (PSA) campaigns were voted by the public as a “Favorite Advertising Icon” and “Favorite Advertising Slogan,” as part of Advertising Week 2014, the annual gathering of marketing and communication leaders in New York City. Winning the contest will put Smokey Bear and slogan “Friends Don’tLet Friends Drive Drunk” in the Advertising Walk of Fame alongside MadisonAvenue, known for its numerous ad agency residents. The announcement was made earlier this week at the closing bell at NASDAQ in Times Square.

“We’re thrilled that so many have come to know and love bothSmokey Bear and the slogan ‘Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk’ over thedecades. This recognition is an incredible example of how public service advertising can work its way into the American vernacular,” said Peggy Conlon,president and CEO of the Ad Council. “But the true measure of great advertising is the impact it makes on the world, and both of these campaigns have gone along way in moving minds and changing behaviors.”

Created by the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of StateForesters and ad agency FCB West in 1944, Smokey Bear is the center of thewildfire prevention campaign, the longest and one of the most successful publicservice advertising (PSA) campaigns in the United States. Smokey—who celebratedhis 70th birthday this past August— has helped reduce the number ofacres burned annually by wildfires from 22 million in 1944 to an average of 6.7million annually today. Since the launch of the campaign, media outlets havedonated more than $2 billion in time and space for the ads with researchshowing that he is recognized by 96 percent of adults. In more recent years,Smokey has expanded his digital presence, gaining large followings on  Facebook, YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter.

When the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) first created the Drunk Driving Prevention campaign in 1983, more than 20,000 people were being killed each year in alcohol-related crashes.   The campaign took the unique approach of targeting the intervener—first with the tagline, “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship,” which eventually evolved to the widely recognized “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.” During the life of the campaign (1983-1999), the number of fatalities due to alcohol-related crashes dropped from 21,000 to 12,500 and even as of 2013, more than two thirds of American adults report having stopped a friend from driving while under the influence, speaking to the enormous impact of this intervener strategy.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council isa private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteertalent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messagesto 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 AdCouncil and its campaigns, visit, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube



Ad Council

Ellyn Fisher


[email protected]

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