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Ad Council, FCB, Framestore, Betty White Celebrate Smokey Bear's 75th Birthday

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Robert Goldrich
Friday, Aug. 9, 2019

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Smokey Bear, the face of the longest-running PSA campaign in United States history, turns 75 today, continuing his legacy of bringing awareness to unwanted, human-caused fires in America. Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention campaign has had a dramatic impact since its introduction in 1944. This progress continues today, with an approximate 14 percent reduction in the average number of human-caused wildfires from 2011-2018, compared to the previous 10 years. While it’s clear his work has been successful, 9 out of 10 wildfires are still caused by humans, which means Smokey’s iconic message is as important as ever.

To celebrate the wildfire prevention icon’s milestone birthday, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council are releasing new PSAs featuring Betty White, announcing the addition of a new Smokey Bear balloon in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and promoting birthday parties and local events across the nation. Together, these three partners make up the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Committee, the coalition behind Smokey Bear and his wildfire prevention campaign. 

Smokey Bear has only said a handful of words over the last 75 years. To complement this signature message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” (voiced by actor Sam Elliott for the last 12 years), Smokey’s famous friends are stepping in to speak through him about the importance of fire safety and wildfire prevention.

With the help of ad agency FCB and cutting-edge facial recognition and mapping technology, Smokey’s friend Betty White is the most recent celebrity to lend her voice and carry on the beloved bear’s legacy into his 75th year with this animated emoji PSA. Stephen Colbert, Jeff Foxworthy, and Al Roker have also lent their voices to the cause in similar PSAs launched earlier this year. 

“75 years ago, FCB, in partnership with what would become the Ad Council, gave birth to Smokey Bear. All these years, he’s been reminding us that ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.’ In other words, there’s a little Smokey Bear in all of us,” said Susan Credle, FCB global chief creative officer. “This year, we are asking people to listen to their inner Smokey Bear. People sharing stories about why they love the outdoors and how they protect our country’s beautiful wildlife — what a perfect gift to give Smokey Bear on his 75th birthday!”

Framestore served as production/animation/VFX company on this Betty White-voiced PSA.

Credits

Client Ad Council/USDA Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters Agency FCB New York Ari Halper, chief creative officer; James Meiser, sr. art director; Sarah Bass, Brenda Fernandez, Anjali Rao, copywriters; Todd Sussman, Vita Harris, chief strategy officers; Adam Isidore, director of integrated production; Estela Duce, executive integrated producer; Jesse Morris, project manager; Margot Meyerhoff, sr. digital producer. Production Framestore Murray Butler, executive creative director; Ian Bradley, design director; Pete Jones, sr. producer; Christine Cattano, exec producer; Bassma Yang, Coy Yuan, Dan Finn, Cole Ott, design; Gigi Ng, Martin Lazaro, Raul Ortego, 2D artists; Patrick Beavers, Unity development; Andrew Trout, Jessica Soderstrom, CG modeling; Rob Garcia, Minji Sohn, rigging; Kevin Rooney, animation; Marco Merenghi, VFX supervisor; Victoria Nieves, production coordinator. Audio Sonic Union Rob McIver, sound designer/mix engineer; Justine Cortale, Carolyn Mandlavitz, audio producers.

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