“This is an opportunity to help brands in their early stages, rather than just in the campaign phase as the Ad Council usually does,” says Derrick Feldmann, the managing director of Ad Council Edge.
From Smokey Bear to McGruff the Crime Dog to “Loose Lips Sink Ships,” the Ad Council has been the driving force behind dozens of iconic public service campaigns since the organization was first established in 1942.
The Ad Council typically partners with creative agencies to create pro bono campaigns for nonprofit and government clients, which are then run using donated air time and print space from thousands of U.S. media outlets.
“Working with nonprofits, foundations and corporations, Ad Council Edge will concentrate on four major areas of service: research, strategy development, convenings and trainings,” the organization said in a statement, noting that it will be aiming to attract companies in their “formative phases.”
“Right now, we’re in start-up mode. We’re going to get into the market and see what kind of feedback we get,” says Lisa Sherman, the Ad Council’s president and CEO. Sherman adds that prior to the consultancy’s creation, the Ad Council by itself wasn’t always able to fully support the needs of the groups seeking its services.
“Ultimately, if we’re able to generate some revenue that we can redeploy into the Ad Council, that’d be a win-win for us,” says Sherman. While Edge will operate on a standard fee-for-service model, 100 percent of its profits will be used to fund the Ad Council and its traditional pro bono work, which this year encompasses causes including suicide prevention, reducing food waste and LGBTQ+ acceptance.