Ad Council Recruits Top Creatives for War Effort

The Advertising Council is searching for an “elite” group of creative talent to work on a national war ad campaign in conjunction with the White House.

The plan is to form a group similar to the Tuesday Team, which pulled agency executives together to promote Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential bid. The group will design a strategy for several PSA campaigns that will respond to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said Peggy Conlon, Ad Council president and CEO.

Details have not yet been worked out, but the overall campaign is likely to address such issues as anti-discrimination, tolerance, parental responses and mental health, among others.

At least 12 shops would then be asked to produce the pro bono ads.

Rather than have agencies work with the Ad Council on an ad hoc basis–the method used for current ads by McCann-Erickson in New York featuring Laura Bush and by GSD&M in Austin focusing on diversity–the ad industry wants to coor- dinate its future efforts under one umbrella, Conlon said.

The goal is to have three to five team members working on a part- or full-time basis, Conlon said. So far, the Council has contacted Phil Dusenberry, chairman of BBDO, New York, and Ron Berger, CEO and chief creative officer of Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG.

Dusenberry, part of the Tuesday Team, said he is considering the offer, which was extended last week by American Association of Advertising Agencies president O. Burtch Drake. Widespread exposure is needed to make the plan work, Dusenberry said, adding, “I am confident they would get enough [media time], because what could be more important than this?”

Berger, who chairs the 4A’s creative committee, said he was invited to participate during a 4A’s board meeting on Tuesday at which the plan was first discussed. He declined to join. “I can’t do this full-time, but I think our involvement in some way would be a possibility,” he said.

The Ad Council was formed after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It created such World War II ad efforts as Rosie the Riveter and the slogan “Loose lips sink ships.”