AD COUNCIL LAUNCHES TROOP SUPPORT EFFORT

Creates Ads for Defense Department's 'America Supports You' Campaign

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The Ad Council is enlisting in the Defense Department's effort to get Americans to give greater moral support to the military personnel serving in Iraq, overseas and the states.

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The new advertising campaign is designed to influence the troops as well as the general public.

Eighteen months after the Department of Defense launched its "America Supports You" effort with a Web site encouraging Americans to demonstrate support for the troops through e-mails, messages and activities, the Ad Council is breaking radio, print and magazine public service ads urging visits to AmericaSupportsYou.mil.

The campaign is a two-pronged effort, with part of the work aimed at citizens and the rest aimed at the military. On the citizen front, one print ad from DeVito/Verdi, New York, features a picture of a soldier with the headline "Don't let their enemy's presence be felt more than yours." Another ad featuring a picture of a tank reads, "You don't have to be a commanding officer to put a soldier at ease." The radio ads, meanwhile, feature soldiers thanking people for letters and comments.

United front
The advertising aimed at the military suggests Americans are united. "An ocean stands between you and your country but nothing divides us," one print ad says. "To see how Americans are supporting our troops, log on."

Allison Barber, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Defense Department, said the Web site had 1.7 million unique visitors in its first year, and the Ad Council effort should boost that number.

"We are expecting great things. This campaign talks to both our audiences," she said.

Ad Council tradition
Ad Council President-CEO Peggy Conlon said the campaign is in line with the Ad Council's traditional role. The Council was created early in World War II in part to support the war effort.

"We don't want a repeat of what happened when the soldiers came back from Vietnam," she said, "because of the politics of the war. We want to strip out the policy and politics and let them know that we appreciate that they are supporting the basic tenants that make this country."

She said there is no TV for the campaign because of limited available funding.

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