An icon in the advertising world returned to the airwaves recently when the Ad Council and the USDA Forest Service, launched a new campaign featuring Smokey Bear, who continues to remind us that “only you can prevent wildfires.” The new campaign includes a series of PSA’s that are already airing on television, as well as an educational DVD designed for elementary children.
Smokey first made his appearance back in 1944 and over the years he has become one of the most recognizable animated characters of all time. Smokey has educated several generations of children about the dangers of forest fires, and since his introduction, the number of acres that are burned up annually has gone down from 22 million in 1944, to 6.5 million today.
Since his humble beginnings, Smokey has been trying to warn us about wildfires and their causes. For instance, did you know that 9 out of 10 forest fires are caused by people? Most are due to campfires left unattended, trash burning on windy days, arson, careless discarding of smoking materials or BBQ coals. We often operate under the false assumption that they are a natural occurrence caused by lightning, and while that does happen, it is quite rare.
With his return, Smokey brings a snappy new slogan that invites you to “Get Your Smokey On.” He also continues to remind us of our responsibilities when we use fire in the wild, and that even after all these years, he still needs our help to prevent the nearly 70,000 wildfires caused by humans each year.
In another example of his jump to the 21st century, Smokey can be found on all the regular social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Or you can check out the all new Smokey at SmokeyBear.com.
(Articled edited to get Smokey’s name right! We can’t have him attacking after all!)