The Ad Council’s Greatest Hits is an article on Mental Floss by Kara Kovaichik. It rounds up 8 famous Public Service Announcements that are forever engrained into the American psyche. She also gives a history of the Ad Council:
"The Ad Council was formed in 1942 when a group of Madison Avenue advertising execs wanted to contribute to the war effort without actually leaving their day jobs. The result was a series of ads encouraging Americans to buy war bonds. They were so successful that President Roosevelt encouraged the organization to continue the program after the war had ended. How does it work? A non-profit or government organization (such as the Boys Clubs of America or the Department of Homeland Security) approaches the Ad Council with a cause that needs support. The Council farms out the job to an advertising agency, which provides its creative and production work free of charge. The people that appear in PSA spots, whether celebrities or civilians, get no pay and no residuals for their work. The Council then approaches different media outlets – radio, TV and even the Internet – to get the ads placed (again, free of charge). The Ad Council requires that PSAs promote positive social change in such areas as the quality of life for children, preventative health, education, community well being, and environmental preservation."
The honored ads are: Smokey Bear; The United Negro College Fund; Keep America Beautiful; Don’t Smoke; Don’t Do Drugs, Either; Don’t Screw Around in the Workplace; Buckle Up; Don’t Touch Blasting Caps.Enjoy!