Ad Council rolls out new ads in 'Campaign for America'

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One print ad is headlined "How `We have nothing to eat' became `Dad, can I borrow the convertible?"' Another begins, "A priest, a rabbi and an imam are walking down the street," and goes on to say that there's no punch line.

The two executions are the latest renditions of the Advertising Council's Campaign for America, and their unveiling dovetails with the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy. The print and TV effort compares immigrants' lives before they entered the U.S. with their current-day situation.

TV spots from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, and print from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., compare living in America with the horrors of living in Cambodia during Pol Pot's regime; living in Armenia when expressing political views could result in arrest; and being assigned to work camps in the Ukraine during the Stalin era.

The TV spots, directed by Joe Pytka and done documentary-style, each feature an individual immigrant's story. The Ad Council is the only named sponsor of Campaign for Freedom, though the group said Hearst Corp., Home Depot, Coca-Cola Co. and two foundations put up the $500,000 to produce and distribute the spots. The ads use the theme line "Freedom: Appreciate It. Cherish It. Protect It."

`no call to action'

Phil Dusenberry, retired chairman of BBDO Worldwide and creative director for the campaign, said the continuing theme is to make Americans more appreciative of the freedoms they have. "It's not like we are telling people to give money or time and there is no call to action. The idea is to somehow instill a sense of appreciation of what we as Americans always take for granted and what puts us apart from other nations."

Chris Wall, senior partner and co-creative head for Ogilvy, said the spots were developed out of interviews with 40 to 50 immigrants. "We were looking for a unique perspective on freedom and how rare it is," he said. "It's a cliche but you don't appreciate it until you talk to somebody who doesn't have it."

Ad Council President-CEO Peggy Conlon said the messages were being prepared for some time and weren't specifically timed to Sept. 11. But she said the Ad Council is unveiling the effort now in the hopes media companies will use the anniversary to air the spots. "It's all the more important to be fanning this flame of freedom and focusing on why are we in this war and what is at stake."

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