Oakland Takes A Chill Pill — Ads From McCann Call for Calm In Wake of Rodney King Trial

OAKLAND – A community group here, concerned about the potential for violence all across the state and the nation in the wake of a verdict in the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, has turned to McCann-Erickson/S.F. to launch an ad campaign to maintain calm.
The first print ads appeared last week in the Oakland Tribune. Billboards and radio ads are expected as well. They will all use Rodney King’s public plea after last year’s rioting, ‘Can’t we all get along?’
‘It’s a good line. It says it all,’ said Brian McCarthy, senior vp/cd for McCann-Erickson/S.F. ‘It’s going to be the backbone of the campaign.’
While Los Angeles burned last year, Oakland stayed calm, avoiding the violence and looting that scarred other cities.
The New Oakland Committee, a coalition of leaders from business, labor and minority groups, wants to make sure that the city doesn’t change this time and came up with the idea of a public campaign.
The ads call for a ‘productive, not destructive reaction’ to the verdict. It encourages people to gather in schools, churches and at work to discuss the outcome of the trial and vent their feelings.
A representative of food retailer Safeway participates in the New Oakland Committee and the company had approached its agency, McCann, to do the work on a pro bono basis.
McCann said it is trying to get music artists from Oakland such as En Vogue and Hammer to record ads targeting young people. The agency is also talking to players from the Golden State Warriors basketball team, who are expected to record ads.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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