Imagine dousing your campfire then getting a big bear hug from Smokey Bear, the iconic symbol of wildfire prevention for nearly 70 years.
That’s the idea behind three videos in a new series of Smokey Bear public service advertisements released July 12, 2013, designed to raise awareness about wildfire prevention. The Smokey Bear campaign is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. History. The new ads will feature his well-known tagline, “Only YOU can prevent wildfires.” The new twist is the bear hugs.
“As he approaches his seventieth birthday, Smokey remains the country’s renowned and beloved ‘spokesbear’ for fire prevention,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We are confident that these new PSAs will use ‘bear hugs’ to enlighten a whole new generation of Americans on the critical importance of preventing wildfires.”
Wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental issues affecting Americans. Smokey Bear’s campaign has helped to reduce wildfires from 22 million acres annually to an average of 6.9 million acres today. Still, nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by people, so Smokey Bear’s work remains vitally important.
“These new PSAs celebrate the Smokey Bear that we all know and love, while continuing to empower Americans to act responsibly when recreating outdoors,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “According to our latest research, nearly all Americans are aware of Smokey and his message, and they understand that they have a role to play, but many don’t know exactly what to do. These ads educate audiences about specific steps to properly safeguard against accidental fire and I believe they will be effective. After all, who doesn’t want a hug from Smokey Bear?”
Stay connected to Smokey Bear through the campaign’s website, where you can take a pledge and learn more about wildfire prevention. Smokey Bear also can be followed through his social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.