Since 1944, Smokey Bear has instructed Americans that, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Smokey is an icon: in 2017, 80% of outdoor recreationists (18+) correctly identified Smokey Bear’s image and 8 in 10 recognized the campaign PSAs.
In an effort to decrease human-caused wildfire, the Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters launched new digital-first videos and artwork inspired by beloved Smokey Bear posters, that feature lesser known fire starts.
Created by FCB West, the ad agency that has created work for the campaign since its 1944 launch, 2017’s PSAs remind outdoor enthusiasts and those who live near the great outdoors that everyday actions can spark a wildfire. These ads demonstrate how to properly extinguish hot coals and ashes, and safely burn debris.
While Smokey Bear has accomplished so much as the star of the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S.history, his message remains as important today as it was when it launched, 73 years ago. Even today, nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by people. Common causes of wildfires include leaving campfires and warming fires unattended, burning debris on windy days, improperly discarding smoking materials or BBQ coals, or operating equipment without spark arrestors.
That’s why PSAs direct viewers to www.SmokeyBear.com where they can sign a wildfire prevention pledge, learn safety tips like how to properly build and put out campfires, and access Smokey content from the past to the present. Smokey Bear continues to encourage young adults to be proactive in preventing wildfires through his social media channels. For example,audiences are encouraged to join in by posting their own #OnlyYou moments online.
To learn more about Smokey Bear and the longest-running PSA campaign in history, please visit The Classics.