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Deutsch/LA Readies LAPD Recruitment Campaign

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Using the simple tagline "Do good," Deutsch/LA is breaking a campaign to lure recruits to the city's police force while softening the image of a department hammered by bad publicity in recent years.

Billboard and radio ads planned for the $2 million pro-bono effort take pains to point out the kindhearted and courageous work performed by officers. Some 64 boards go up this week, with messages about moments involving the LAPD. The text includes the name or names of the officers and the date and time of the moment.

White text on a dark blue background recounts such incidents as one officer telling a joke to defuse a dispute, another giving blankets to the homeless and a third rescuing abducted infant twins. Radios ads feature similar stories related in a dramatic deep voice. Newspaper ads, movie-theater slides and Internet banners are also planned.

The work represented a "real creative challenge, said Eric Hirshberg, executive creative director at the Marina del Rey, Calif., agency. "We sat down to talk to the cops about the positive effect they have on the community, and what they like about their jobs," said Hirshberg. "We heard about a lot of good deeds that they do, and it really gave us a fresh take on law enforcement."

Hirshberg acknowledged that the well-publicized scandals visited on the LAPD contributed to the upbeat approach. He said the strategy is aimed at bringing a certain type of person to the department.

"The challenge for us was not just to get more recruits but to get the right type of recruits," he said.

Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan said the shop "pulled out all the stops in creating an inspired recruitment campaign." He added that the work "delivers powerful and touching stories that strike an emotional chord for prospective recruits, officers and the community."