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Breathtaking New Campaign for Asthma Awareness Presents an Unsettling View of the Disease's Effects

TV Spot Directed By Academy Award-Winning Director Janusz Kaminski

NEW YORK, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In a literally breathtaking new advertising campaign for the American Asthma Foundation (AAF), a new television commercial offers a stark depiction of the possible debilitating and life-threatening effects of this "neglected disease."

The 30-second public service announcement (PSA) marks the first awareness advertising undertaken by the one-year-old AAF. The campaign will begin airing May 19 in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The campaign, created by the award-winning and critically acclaimed New York advertising agency DeVito/Verdi, was created to convey, in dramatic form, how severe asthma can be one of the most unexpected and traumatizing diseases afflicting its victims.

The television commercial, "Park," features a bucolic park-like setting, where a man sits quietly on a bench reading his paper. From behind, a pair of hands appears, holding a clear plastic bag that is quickly placed over the man's head. As he struggles to free himself from suffocating, the hands disappear, but the bag remains taut against his neck and head.

Three solo drumbeats introduce the words that splash onto the screen; clearly explaining what is actually happening to this man: "This...Is...Asthma." The victim eventually frees himself from the bag and desperately catches his breath. Around him, life within the park goes on without incident.

The commercial was directed by Janusz Kaminski, who has won Academy Awards for "Best Cinematography" for "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." The spot can be viewed on

The commercial ends with the plea: "Asthma. Help us fight it. Help us cure it." The American Asthma Foundation is committed to finding a cure for the estimated 23 million Americans who suffer from the disease.

"This campaign will play a major role in mobilizing awareness of how serious asthma can be, and generate the donations necessary to find a cure," said Dean Smith of the AAF.

While asthma affects people of all ages, it's particularly widespread in the inner cities where up to one in four children is a victim of this disease. Yet there have been no significant improvement in treatment, and relatively little progress in discovering a cure in more than 50 years. The National Institutes of Health spends less than 1% of its budget to address this disease that affects one in every 13 Americans.

The American Asthma Foundation is the only national organization to focus solely on asthma research, advocacy and education.

"Part of our charter is educating the public about this disease, and we felt it was essential to demonstrate the severity of an asthma attack with dramatic, break-through-the-clutter public service announcements," said Marion Sandler, chairman of the board of the AAF. "We teamed up with DeVito/Verdi to create these high impact, call-to-action spots in order to raise the awareness of how severe this neglected disease can be and let people know where they can go to help fund a cure."

"The only way for most people to relate to asthma sufferers is to have them go through and feel the experience of an asthma attach. We did this on film in a way that everyone could understand and never forget," said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi.

About The American Asthma Foundation

The American Asthma Foundation is the only national organization focused solely on asthma. The funds we receive are invested in basic research from the finest scientific minds from diverse fields to investigate the causes of asthma and prevent its onset, find a cure, help people who suffer from the disease, and call attention to the social and emotional costs of the disease.

For more information, visit

About DeVito/Verdi

DeVito/Verdi, a privately held company, has been recognized as one of the most exceptional creative agencies in the industry. Its lengthy list of industry awards includes the top prizes at the Clios, Radio Mercury, Cannes, Andy, Addy and One Show awards.

DeVito/Verdi, which has been voted "Best Agency" six times over the last 10 years by the 4A's, has created some of the most memorable ad campaigns of the past 15 years. DeVito/Verdi strives for excellence and maintains a unique level of prestige within the advertising industry, as evidenced by its work for such clients as Meijer, The National Association of Broadcasters, Sony, Canon, BMW, Circuit City, Daffy's, Esquire Magazine, TimeOut Magazine, Grey Goose Vodka,, CarMax, Sports Authority, and others.

For more information on DeVito/Verdi, visit

SOURCE DeVito/Verdi
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