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Case Study: The Advertising Council Generates Buzz and Increases the Reach of their PSA Campaigns through Multimedia News Releases


The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organisation that marshalls volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has endeavored to improve the lives of all Americans since first defining the category of public service advertising (PSA) in 1942. Through their PSAs, the Ad Council has been raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives for more than 65 years.

The Ad Council has delivered thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organisations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, safety, education, and community well being.

The national PSA campaigns include traditional media (television, radio, print, outdoor), as well as non-traditional (Web and alternative) and social media components. The Ad Council is continually seeking to identify new and creative ways to engage its target audiences in the campaign messages.

During the summer of 2006, the organisation sought to expand the reach of its news releases and national PSAs online, in an effort to garner the attention of the public and generate online buzz when each campaign is distributed to the media. Ultimately, the goal was to generate greater exposure of the ads and create a process that would make iteasier for the public to learn more about the social issues addressed by the campaigns.

Target Audience

The media and the American public.


The Ad Council teamed up with MultiVu, PR Newswire’s broadcast and multimedia company, to create their first Multimedia News Release (MNR) urging young adults to“Pay Attention & Vote” in July 2006 (http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/24900/). The success of this initialcampaign (and others that followed), encouraged the Ad Council to use MNRs for every public service campaign that they launch.

“We use MultiVu’s multimedia press releases to announce all of our national public service advertising campaigns. Their MNRs allow us to feature our new creative material (including TV, radio, print, and Web) in a dynamic and interactive design that we have found is very appealing and useful to the media. Additionally, PR Newswire allows us to target the distribution of press releases to key media outlets, while also connecting consumer audiences to the critical information provided by our PSA campaigns.” - Ellyn Fisher, Director, Corporate Communications

The MNRs that the Ad Council has created with MultiVu have used all types of multimedia to communicate messages surrounding community, education, safety, and health issues. Each MNR includes the full text of a press release combined with one or more multimedia components, such as high-resolution photos, audio and/or video PSAs and other sound bites, downloadable information, documents and PowerPoint presentations, direct website links, social media links, and more. The many MNRs that the Ad Council has created over the past few years have proven that this multimedia tool can greatly extend the new reach and impact of a well-produced PSA.

Every MNR released by the Ad Council produces significant results. A recent example of the success of the Ad Council’s MNRs is their launch of a campaign to address childhood obesity. The Ad Council teamed with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, NBC, qubo and the United States Olympic Committee to create a series of PSAs, which launched in April 2008.

The MNR received the following results:
- Nearly 2,600 page hits (average = 2,000)
- Over 2,200 video streams (average = 1,200)
- 257 journalist hits on PR Newswire for Journalists (average = 125)
- Coverage on the popular ‘Marketing to Youth’ blog

To view this MNR, go to http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/32537/.

Other recent Ad Council MNRs include:
- A campaign to encourage kids to complete high school featuring Phoenix Suns player Amaré Stoudemire. http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/32663/

- The launch of “Real Men Wear Gowns,” which encourages middle-aged men to take an active part in their own preventive health care. http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/31364/

- To further the preventive health campaign messages to the Hispanic community, the Ad Council launched one of the first Interactivo MNRs (Spanish language MNR) in partnership with PR Newswire. The campaign was aimed at getting Hispanics more involved in their everyday health care and urged moms and dads to become a “Superhero” for their families. http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/31363/

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