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Our History

Our History

Ad Council’s messages and slogans have been woven into the very fabric of American culture since its inception. James Webb Young, cofounder of the Young and Rubicam agency, first articulated the idea of the Ad Council in 1941. He addressed giants of our industry—among them Raymond Rubicam, J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett—to propose an organization that could bring the entire advertising industry together in service of social good.

Just three weeks later came the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and The War Advertising Council was created. Following World War II, President Truman asked the Ad Council to continue its work as a peacetime public service organization addressing the most pressing social issues of the day. Whether it was fighting Polio, preventing AIDS, responding to September 11th, or providing critical information during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ad Council has continued to produce impactful public service engagement campaigns that raise awareness, inspire action and save lives.

Ad Council Timeline

ACtimeline_2018_REV
The Classics
Savings Bond
1942 - 1980

The Savings (or War) Bonds campaign was not only the organization's first campaign, but also its most successful campaign to date. Begun in 1942 by the then War Advertising Council, the campaign encouraged Americans to support the war effort by purchasing war bonds. By the time the campaign ended 38 years later, millions of Americans had purchased $35 billion in War/Savings Bonds.
1942 - 1980
1942 - 1980
Security of War Information
1942 - 1945

"Loose Lips Sink Ships"

The War Advertising Council's "Loose Lips Sink Ships" and "Keep it Under Your Stetson" public service ads reminding Americans of the dangers of revealing too much information are still remembered today. The campaign encouraged Americans to be discreet in their communication to prevent information from being leaked to the enemy during World War II.
1942 - 1945
1942 - 1945