NEW YORK: The Ad Council and the American Stroke Association (ASA) have launched a campaign to encourage people to respond to early stroke symptoms. The effort is centered on a series of PSAs that are being actively distributed throughout May, in honor of American Stroke Month.
Toiya Honore, communications director for the ASA, said this is the first time the organization has "done something of this magnitude."
Created pro bono by ad agency Carmichael Lynch, the PSAs are directed by actor James Woods, and feature celebrities Sharon Stone, Penny Marshall, Don Rickles, Patrick Dempsey, and Michael Clarke Duncan. The stars are shown personifying a stroke by describing how the condition affects victims.
At the end of all the PSAs, viewers are directed to the ASA website, strokeassociation.org, and its hotline, (888) 4-STROKE, where they can learn about warning signs and treatment.
"The overall theme of this campaign is, 'time equals brain,'" explained Honore. "The longer people wait to get treated for stroke symptoms, the more brain cells they lose. Most people don't realize that."
Honore cited African Americans and seniors - those most likely to suffer from a stroke - as target groups. She noted, however, that the ASA would be reaching out to all media outlets, because bystanders are considered a key audience.
"The majority of people experiencing stroke symptoms will not be able to make the 911 call themselves," said Honore, "so we're reinforcing our messages across all audiences."