Mullen Unveils Fire Safety Effort

Awareness Campaign Stresses the Importance of Extinguishers

BOSTON–The National Safety Council has launched a fire extinguisher awareness effort created by Mullen, an ad agency that has twice burned to the ground.
Primarily a public relations effort aimed at educating consumers on the necessity of having a fire extinguisher in their homes, the campaign also includes a series of simple, uncluttered print executions. Black type on a white background contrasts with the only color in the ads: a bright-red fire extinguisher under which reads the tagline, “Where’s yours?”
“We were faced with how to boil down all the messaging into a succinct, creative handle?” said Sheila Leyne, co-director of the public relations division at the Wenham, Mass.-based agency. “It’s about as stark and straightforward as you can get.”
Body copy in one ad forms the outline of a house and reads, “A fire can double in size every minute it burns. So the more time you waste searching for your fire extinguisher once you’ve smelled smoke, scrambling from room to room, opening closets, rushing down the stairs . . . the more you risk losing your home, and possibly even your life.”
Bruce Dodworth, an account director in the shop’s public relations group, said the tagline “really plays off the guilt thing. I was worried [the National Safety Council] would think it was aggressive,” Dodworth admitted, “but they loved it.”
Print executions are breaking next month in national publications such as Bon Appetit, Coastal Living, Elle Decor, In Style, McCall’s, Time, People, Good Housekeeping, This Old House and Home.
The campaign’s creative team included creative directors Andrew Lewis and Edward Boches, copywriter Michael Calienes, art director Carol Fox and designer Libby DeLana.
The Chicago-based council is backing the year-long campaign with roughly $500,000, Dodworth said. In addition to the print and public relations efforts, Mullen executives plan to coordinate educational workshops at 20 major corporations next year, including Hewlett-Packard, General Motors and Boeing.

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