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Video: IAVA and Ad Council Build on Success of Groundbreaking Veterans Campaign with New Friends and Family Element
Date:5/1/2009

New PSAs Engage Friends and Family of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

NEW YORK, May 1 /PRNewswire/ -- To help ease the transition and readjustment challenges facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as they return home, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) joined the Ad Council today to launch a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) for their Veteran Support Campaign. Launched on Veterans Day 2008, the first series of ads reaches out to veterans directly and encourages them to visit www.CommunityOfVeterans.org, a private social network where Iraq and Afghanistan veterans can access critical resources and share their experiences in a safe forum. The new series of PSAs unveiled today similarly empowers the family and friends of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by encouraging them to start the conversation and to help veterans transition to civilian life. The PSAs direct friends and family members to the new website, www.SupportYourVet.org, where they can engage with one another in an interactive forum and access conversation tips, critical mental health resources and information about navigating the VA. The PSAs are being distributed to media outlets nationwide this month.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/38123/

Of the 1.7 million veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, nearly one third are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression or Traumatic Brain Injury. Research shows that many veterans avoid seeking help because of the stigma associated with treatment or fear of being diagnosed with a mental illness. Those who do seek help, however, often cite their family as the catalyst for support. Yet, many families today do not know how to broach the subject constructively and struggle with ways to approach a friend or family member who has recently returned home.

Created pro bono by BBDO New York, the new PSAs launched today seek to empower those family and friends of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by giving them the tools and resources to start the conversation. The new series centers on the concept of "welcome home" signs which convey the difficulty of approaching and engaging a friend or family member who has recently returned home. The signs highlight the careful balancing act friends and family members must often endure to engage a new veteran without pushing him or her too hard. Clear Channel's Creative Services Group, Saatchi & Saatchi and AOL donated their resources to develop additional radio, print, outdoor and Web ads.

"IAVA is thrilled to continue the momentum of the historic Veterans Support Campaign. Already, we have heard from hundreds of veterans who have taken advantage of the social network and resources offered by CommunityofVeterans.org. With these new PSAs, we are taking this campaign one step further and engaging the friends and family of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in this critical transition process," said IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. "IAVA is grateful to the Ad Council and BBDO for their extraordinary commitment to our country's newest generation of veterans. Together, we're turning the page on how their predecessors were treated after Vietnam."

"We are proud to continue our partnership with IAVA with this new series of PSAs that will help families and loved ones understand their critical role in supporting veterans in their transition home," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. "In only a short time, this campaign has been very effective in helping to develop a much-needed community of support for these veterans, and this new work will continue to have an impact."

"A welcoming community and home life is what every veteran deserves," said Don Schneider, Executive Creative Director, BBDO New York. "Those of us at BBDO who have had the opportunity to work on this campaign are continually inspired by not only the work that the IAVA does on a regular basis, but by the soldiers and families we have had the privilege to meet during this project."

Both series of PSAs and websites have been researched extensively and tested with veterans, their families and the general market. The ads are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. To date, the campaign has received significant support from the media and 1,500 veterans have joined the private online community. Additionally, www.CommunityOfVeterans.org has received more than 270,000 visits.

Funding for the campaign was made possible by the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund of the California Community Foundation.

BBDO

BBDO's mantra is "The Work. The Work. The Work." Day by day, sixteen thousand BBDO people in 287 offices in 79 countries work client by client, job by job, to create and deliver the world's most compelling commercial content. BBDO is currently Network of the Year at Cannes, the world's most awarded agency network in The Gunn Report, the most awarded global agency network across every marketing communications discipline in The Big Won Report, and Campaign Magazine's Advertising Network of the Year. Encouragingly, for the future, it is also Network of the Year in the 8th annual Young Guns Awards which recognize the work of young and emerging creatives.

IAVA

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan group for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded in 2004, IAVA has more than 125,000 active veteran members and civilian supporters in all 50 states. Its mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.iava.org.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.


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