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Advertising Council, Youth Violence Campaign to Mark Columbine Anniversary with New Public Service Campaign

The Advertising Council, in partnership with the National Campaign Against Youth Violence (NCAYV), today launched a multi-faceted public service campaign aimed to curb youth violence in the United States.

The PSA campaign, created by volunteer ad agency FCB San Francisco, was specifically launched to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Columbine tragedy.

American youth commit, and are victims of, violence at a significantly greater rate than any comparable industrialized nation. According to research conducted by the World Health Organization, the homicide rate for American youth is more than 10 times higher than that of other industrialized nations, and each year, approximately 900,000 children aged 12-18 are subjected to serious violent crimes.

Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Summary of Injury Mortality, 6,146 young people, ages 15-24, were victims of homicide in just one year. This amounts to an average of 17 youth homicide victims per day in the United States.

Central to the idea behind the PSA campaign is that while high profile tragedies such as Columbine, Jonesboro, and most recently, Mount Morris, Michigan have heightened awareness of youth violence, the real crisis is happening not just in suburban schools, but all across the country.

NCAYV studies conclude that most Americans view the problem with little clear direction about what they can and should do.

The message underlying the NCAYV ads is that each person can begin to reduce youth violence by beginning with him or herself. The Youth Violence Prevention PSA campaign is divided into two facets, one geared toward children and the other toward adults.

The child-targeted facet seeks to empower kids to recognize that violence is not cool, and that choosing non-violence is for heroes. The 30-second TV spots depict young people speaking candidly about a past encounter with violence, and describing how and why they have turned away from violence to something more positive.

The adult-targeted facet seeks to help adults see that they can help reduce youth violence by reconsidering the lessons they teach their kids about violence. The 30-second TV spots for this facet open with a different adult -- a father, a coach, and a mother -- encouraging violence.

Gradually, as what the adult says becomes more and more violent, the adult's face morphs into that of a child, who is the one left shouting the epithets. Spots for both the kid- and adult-targeted facets feature the tagline, "Is there any real way to stop youth violence? Try starting with yourself."

Building on last year's unprecedented TV "roadblock," this year 35 broadcast and cable networks have agreed to air these new PSAs throughout the day and across all day parts including the family hour between 8 and 9 pm. on Thursday, April 20. Additionally, the message is being supported across other media, including newspaper, radio and Internet. (See following list of participating media).

"This is only the second time we have arranged a comprehensive media roadblock like this," said Peggy Conlon, Ad Council President and CEO, "and again, I am delighted with the media's support. On this day of remembrance of the innocent students whose lives were lost at Columbine, the media have really stepped up to demonstrate how much they care about this nation's children, and the American family."

The CEO of the National Campaign, Jeff Bleich, explained that this is an important first step for the Campaign.

"We are very grateful to FCB San Francisco, the Ad Council, and our many media partners in getting this important message out to the public. Changing a culture that believes that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and to gain respect will have to begin with public education that shows us a better way. We think this first round of PSAs will help begin that process and dialogue."

Other available materials for the campaign include TV, radio, print, out of home and Web banners. The audience is directed to a toll-free number, 888-544-KIDS, and two Web sites -- www.NoViolence.net (or www.NoMasViolencia.net) for parents, and www.shine365.com for kids -- to learn what they can do to help fight youth violence. TV and radio spots can be previewed within the Current Campaigns section of the Ad Council Web site at www.adcouncil.org. The television portion of the campaign drew support from award-winning directors Tony Kaye and Bob Giraldi, who contributed their time and talent to the effort.


unknown, April 18, 2000, U.S. Newswire/via NewsEdge Corporation

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