Pentagon taps Ad Council for support-the-troops effort

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Sixty years after it was formed to stir public sentiment during World War II, the Ad Council is orchestrating a marketing effort for the Defense Department aimed at heightening support for U.S. troops fighting in Iraq.

The DOD has tapped the Ad Council-famed for its "Rosie the Riveter" and "Loose Lips Sink Ships" ads during WWII-to develop public service advertising that will break in March.

The ads expands a public-relations and Web effort themed "America Supports You" launched in December ( that culminates in May, Military Appreciation Month. "We are highlighting what Americans are doing for their troops," said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense.

There will be two parts of the campaign. One, running in the U.S., will offer ways to support the troops overseas such as sending phone cards and care packages. A second, smaller creative effort will be run in Iraq on military media to indicate that Americans at home support the troops.

"The message is to support the soldiers overseas," said Priscilla Natkins, Ad Council director-client services. "It's a non-partisan effort." DeVito/Verdi, New York, will handle the effort, to include print, radio and outdoor.

Separately, the Ad Council last week announced plans for a public-service campaign for tsunami relief featuring former Presidents Bush and Clinton. The campaign was created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York.

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