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A Holiday Gift that Protects and Prepares

The best presents to give or receive are thoughtful, unexpected and practical—something people can use, appreciate and admire long after the holidays are over. I got a great idea from one of our new board members—Michael Kassan, Chairman & CEO of MediaLink. At a recent meeting, he caught my attention with this pronouncement: “I’m about to tell you a story that’s going to make you very happy.”

He told me how a public service campaign honored at our Annual Dinner held in November inspired him to action. The story lived up to his promise–it did make me – and a lot of other people – very happy! The campaign prompted Michael to put its message into action, and saved him from the dreaded holiday “what-to-give?” dilemma!

The winner of this year’s Ad Council Gold Bell for Creative Excellence was our Emergency Preparedness Campaign, produced pro bono by Leo Burnett and in partnership with FEMA. The campaign dramatizes the need to prepare NOW for future emergencies such as earthquakes, tornados, etc. reminding us that the day before a disaster often looks just like any other day. Research has found that while people know they should have a resource kit and plan on hand, they rarely get around to actually getting one ready.

Michael (who lives in earthquake-prone California) was so moved by the campaign message that he decided to make this year’s MediaLink holiday gift to clients, colleagues and friends an emergency preparedness package! And, just like everything Michael does, it was an incredibly thoughtful, thorough and elegant kit! Gathered in a canvas “go bag” were all of the relief-giving resources you would want at your fingertips during disaster–purified water packets, a flashlight, face mask, and first aid kit, energy bars and family evacuation plans from FEMA, and many other useful items. In carefully organizing and assembling these kits, Michael saved all of us lucky enough to receive his gift hours and hours of planning and shopping (and panicking!).

Every holiday season we put a lot of thought into what to give our family and friends. Why not give the gift of preparedness? A readiness-resource kit is a practical present that can fend off potential harm, helplessness and last-minute scramble later. It’s an unexpected way to let your loved ones know you care about their safety and well-being, no matter what the season.

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Peggy Conlon
Written by Peggy Conlon

Peggy is President and CEO of the Ad Council. During the past 10 years, she has championed the organization’s important mission among various non-profit organizations and government agencies to use the power of PSAs to improve some of the nation’s most pressing issues.

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