Nerve Agency - Portland, OR
Few public service advertising campaigns truly impact the way Americans
think, feel and live day to day. Together We Prepare-the American
Red Cross national brand campaign, did just that. It remains one of the
most successful public service advertising campaigns in American Red Cross
After the national tragedy of September 11th, in the midst of a down-turned
economy and in the wake of corporate scandals such as Enron, MCI-WorldCom
and Martha Stewart, trust levels in institutions suffered greatly. Philanthropic
giving was adversely affected across the nonprofit sector. The American
Red Cross, the nation's oldest humanitarian organization, reached out,
taking the pulse of an anxious society, and developed a campaign to soothe
fears and empower the public.
The Together We Prepare campaign focused on public safety and emergency
preparedness, using a straightforward, informational approach that showed
five simple steps to get prepared for the unexpected: Make a Family Emergency
Plan, Build an Emergency Supplies Kit, Give Blood, Volunteer, and Donate
Together We Prepare served as a springboard for national action
when the American public needed guidance and reassurance. It empowered
Americans during uncertain times while simultaneously restoring faith
in one of the nation's most historic and renowned organizations.
In March 2003 the campaign launched in a perfect storm of timing, credibility
and coordination. The launch coincided with the Department of Homeland
Security's "Get Ready" campaign as well as Red Cross Month.
It also coordinated with the inclusion of "The Most Useful Book in
the World", a Red Cross guide to emergency preparedness, in Time Magazine.
National advertising was also complemented by an aggressive earned media
Post-September 11th research indicated that individuals who were not supporters
of the American Red Cross generally associated the organization only with
times of disaster and distress, and did not feel that the American Red
Cross had invited them to join in the activities of the organization,
but showed a strong predisposition toward participation in a meaningful
To maximize the potential of all these opportunities, Together We
Prepare did 3 things. First, it used the "we" from the organization's
slogan, Together, we can save a life as a springboard into new relevance
with new audiences. Second, it targeted people ages 25-54, though never
alienating the traditionally older American Red Cross supporters or the
rest of the general public. Finally, it encompassed the wide range of
services the organization provides in addition to disaster response and
relief, such as lifesaving skills training, support for the armed forces
and their families, and everyday instruction about home safety and emergency
Four television public service advertisements (PSAs) were developed:
"Pay It Forward" (in 2 lengths), "Split Images," and
|Click on images to view video
The media embraced Together We Prepare. The television PSAs were
distributed to 1,048 broadcast affiliate television stations across the
country. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) made "Pay
It Forward" available through its membership publication and American
Red Cross field units alone placed an estimated $834,799 in donated media.
Additionally, 550 cable television stations received the PSAs. National
and cable networks including CNN, CNN Headline News, CNBC, ABC, NBC and
CBS all reported public service airs.
The message of Together We Prepare landed squarely "on the
radar screen" of the American public. In a quarterly poll, 29% percent
of respondents recalled seeing a television ad for the American Red Cross.
Together We Prepare took a cutting edge approach to public service
advertising and made a critical first step in reviving America's faith
in the American Red Cross as a partner to the public in a new and challenging
era. Together We Prepare advertising offered a snapshot demonstration
of the Red Cross' steadfast commitment to the American public, in a new
and ever-changing world. Its success continues today.
the poster exhibit for examples of some earlier
American Red Cross advertising pieces. Also visit the aef.com
- Ad Council exhibit for information on ARC historical campaigns.
The Advertising Educational Foundation is grateful to
the American Red Cross for their support and permission to share this
case history with aef.com users.
American Red Cross
Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved.