A billboard from Autism Speaks' Ad Council autism awareness campaign photographed in Washington, Penn., on Jan. 7, 2007 by Ellen Cicconi, Co-Chair for the 3rd Annual Wheeling Walk for Autism Research, which will take place Sun., June 10, 2007.
Since its launch in spring 2006, Autism Speak's national public service campaign with the Advertising Council has quickly become one of the most successful in the Ad Council's history.
More than $31 million in media was donated to the campaign during its first six months, well ahead of the $28 million average Ad Council campaigns generally see for their entire first year, according to the organizations.
In addition, a six-month tracking study shows that, as a result of the public service initiative, general awareness about autism increased by seven percentage points, an exceptionally strong result.
The multi-year “Odds” campaign, created by advertising agency BBDO, was launched last April by Autism Speaks in conjunction with the Ad Council in order to raise awareness about autism and to show that autism is more common than people think.
The campaign has already reached millions of people through television, radio, Internet, and print advertisements. A new billboard has recently been launched (see photo, above), and a new set of television spots is being developed.
The non-profit Ad Council, which last year received more than $1.7 billion in donated advertising time and space, is well known for public service campaigns including Smokey Bear's “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires,”McGruff the Crime Dog's “Take A Bite Out of Crime,” the United Negro College Fund's “A Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste,” and “Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk.”