Smokey Bear launches campaign around July 4th

WASHINGTON: A new phase of the "Get Your Smokey On" campaign is launching over July 4 weekend, educating consumers about Smokey Bear's messages of being responsible with backyard fires and barbecues.

WASHINGTON: A new phase of the "Get Your Smokey On" campaign is launching over July 4 weekend, educating consumers about Smokey Bear's messages of being responsible with backyard fires and barbecues.  

The three-year-old campaign, from the Ad Council, US Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters, this year gives an extra push to Smokey's message, which is about intervention more than just prevention, said Ellyn Fisher, VP of PR and social media for the Ad Council.

"His message has evolved and expanded, but it's always remained consistently about our personal responsibility to prevent wildfires," she explained.

The initiative, which encourages people to speak up if someone is acting irresponsibly around a fire, includes radio, print, and video PSAs, as well as an educational DVD for younger elementary school-aged students.

Previous iterations of the campaign have focused on cigarettes and bonfires as possible fire-starts, said Helene Cleveland, the fire prevention program manager for the US Forest Service. But this year, the focus is on backyard burnings.

"We want to remind the 18- to 35-year-olds, who probably knew Smokey as a kid, that Smokey is still around and [the message] is still relevant," she added.

The campaign is reaching out to young adults, ages 25 to 34 years old, with a secondary audience of 18 to 24-year-olds. The campaign uses Smokey's website, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube, and has a mobile element.

"Because of this target-age range, social media is the bulk of the outreach," Fisher said. "Social media for the Ad Council has grown significantly over the past three years."

The DVDs, which were created by Brigham Young University's AdLab, will be given to teachers and schools to introduce Smokey Bear to a new generation of children.

"We try to explain, from a very early age to later on, about being careful with fire," Cleveland said.

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