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New Ad Council PSA Asks: Are You Ready for Disaster?

For National Preparedness Month, Ad Council’s Ready campaign encourages Americans to plan to stick together in the event of an emergency.

What comes to mind when you think of emergency preparedness? The over-the-top hoarding of doomsday preppers? Finding enough storage room for a year’s worth of water? Mastering a defense tactic to ward off the zombie apocalypse? While popular culture has made the notion of organizing oneself for disaster the stuff of blockbusters, the reality of ensuring your family is safe in the event of a catastrophe is much, much simpler. It starts with making sure everyone stays together.

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This is the central message of new campaign from the Ad Council, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Ready campaign aims to address the fact that 50% of American don’t have an emergency plan should an event like a tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake should strike their town. Simply planning on where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster can help is crucial because when push comes to shove–or the earth begins to quake–no amount of stocked supplies matters if a loved one is missing.

The campaign, created by Deutsch NY, is anchored by a TV spot that gives viewers a glimpse of life at a makeshift shelter. As the camera pans through a room of beleaguered yet relieved families, voices in the background tell of further distress. With cell phone reception out, one family can’t find their son. Without the family together, the work of rebuilding after disaster is impossible.


Radio ads echo the message with dual stories playing out at once: one of a chipper (perhaps too chipper) mother relieved that her family found each other; the other, a woman recounting the 10 hours of hell before hers was reunited. Meanwhile in the print ads, dramatic pictures of towns ripped apart are juxtaposed with location icons of loved ones, signaling that with a little planning, facing the aftermath of natural disaster is just a little bit easier.

The annual campaign is in support of National Preparedness Month, which is September, and encourages people to visit Ready.gov/September to make their own emergency plans. The efforts concludes with a day of action, National Prepareathon Day, on September 30 where people across the country are invited to practice what to do in the event of an emergency.

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About the author

Rae Ann Fera is a writer with Co.Create whose specialty is covering the media, marketing, creative advertising, digital technology and design fields. She was formerly the editor of ad industry publication Boards and has written for Huffington Post and Marketing Magazine

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