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If You Advertise, They Will Respond


Does public service advertising work? Can advertisements move people to action? Findings from studies conducted by the Ad Council on two of its campaigns show that properly researched and strategically implemented public service efforts that are designed to raise awareness of critical issues and call people to action can produce powerful results.

The two Ad Council campaigns that the organization studied both focused on helping children in need. In one, the goal was to encourage more parents to adopt children currently living in foster care. The other was intended to help Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBSA) recruit more adults to serve as volunteer mentors to young people in communities nationwide. Among the results of these two campaigns:

– By the end of 2005, the campaign on behalf of foster kids inspired more than 9,000 prospective families to either contact an agency to start the adoption process or request that the process they’d initiated earlier move to the next step.

– In the first nine months after its campaign was launched, applications to become a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor increased by 75%. In addition, over 12 months, inquiries to BBSA offices climbed nearly six-fold to more than 600,000 from people who wanted to learn more about becoming a mentor.

“These campaigns generated an immediate and extraordinary response from the public that is benefiting children throughout the country,” said George Perlov, the Ad Council’s Senior Vice President/Research Evaluation. “The results of the PSAs testify to the power of public service advertising to make a difference.

>> Download the adoption campaign case study (PDF)

>> Download the Big Brothers Big Sisters case study (PDF)

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