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FWD your VOTE!

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What an amazing month for the Ad Council!  With our 71st Anniversary and TODAY Takes Action, throughout February the Ad Council has been truly celebrating its mission to inspire change and save lives.

To close out the month, Ad Council is celebrating one more milestone – and we need your help.

In 2011, when the Horn of Africa was suffering one of the most severe droughts and famines in history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) called on the Ad Council to create a nationwide social mobilization effort to garner greater awareness of the crisis amongst Americans.  As a result, the FWD campaign – standing for Famine, War and Drought – was born.

Over a year later, FWD lives on.  The campaign has been chosen as a finalist for PR Newswire’s EARNIES GRAND PRIX, honoring the campaign’s efforts to utilize social listening, targeting and monitoring to maximize impact.  Voting ends TOMORROW, so support our work now by voting for FWD here: http://promotions.prnewswire.com/Earnies12_Vote-GrandPrix.html

As one of the most successful earned media campaigns in Ad Council’s history, I am so proud that FWD has been chosen as an example of how to best use earned media to create social impact.

The Ad Council leveraged its full resources to secure partnerships with YouTube, Seamless.com, the NFL Players Association, and MTV, as well as conduct extensive influencer engagement and content generation. The FWD campaign utilized a variety of social media tactics that were deployed across multiple platforms.  In addition, November 9, 2011 was a particular focal point for the campaign known as FWD Day. The goal for FWD Day was to have over 13 million shares – or “FWDs” –  of the campaign information across all social media platforms; a number equal to the number of people impacted by the crisis. FWD far exceeded this goal with over 15 million people reached on Twitter alone, and more than 117 million shares in one day.

Celebrity engagement also helped us to create an ongoing ripple effect, with support from Anthony Bourdain, Mia Farrow, Eliza Dushku, Mandy Moore, Monique Coleman and Lupe Fiasco.  Viral video stars such as the “Chocolate Rain” guy, Lisa Nova, and Brittani created FWD videos to further amplify our message.  We also received promotion from the White House, as well as comedy troupes Barely Political, The Second City and Funny or Die.

The Ad Council is so excited to be nominated for a Grand Prix Earnie, and we hope that you will show your Ad Council support by voting for us.

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On a personal note, my experience leading the FWD campaign really showed me how powerful social mobilization and sharing can be when it comes to creating awareness and inspiring action.  And, it was incredible to see my colleagues at the Ad Council from all different departments and backgrounds coalesce around this cause.  To me, it represents the best of what our organization can do. While the FWD campaign is no longer active, I hope this celebration of the campaign’s success will encourage you to “FWD” a message about a cause that you are passionate about today.

To inspire you, I will leave you with my two of my personal favorite “FWDs.”

Amanda Bagwill
Written by Amanda Bagwill

Amanda Bagwill is a Director in the Ad Council’s DC office, overseeing 7 social issue advertising campaigns on behalf of a variety of non-profit and government clients. Amanda’s goal is to create broad social change by driving awareness and inspiring action through advertising, social media, corporate and media partnerships, and PR. Amanda sings in a band in Washington, DC and is pursuing her MBA at Georgetown University starting in Fall 2012.

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