What Is the Longest Ad Campaign in US History?

Smokey Bear is America's longest running ad campaign. Created in 1944 in response to an increase in wildfires, Smokey Bear ads were used to prevent wildfires. The development of Smokey Bear came during World War II, as many men, including firefighters, were enlisted, and the general public was urged to be more diligent in order to prevent more wildfires. The Forest Service along with the Wartime Advertising Council and Association of State Foresters used posters and slogans to suggest people can prevent fires and win the war.

More about Smokey Bear:

  • Prior to Smokey Bear, Disney allowed the use of a Bambi poster for forest fire prevention.

  • Artist Albert Staehle (1899-1974) created the first Smokey Bear poster, which depicts the bear pouring water on an open campfire.

  • In 1950, an American black bear was rescued during a wildfire in New Mexico, which burned 17,000 acres (69 km). The bear was named Hotfoot Teddy, but later changed to Smokey after the mascot.

Follow wiseGEEK:

More Info:

Discuss this Article

Post 3

In relation to this article, over the recent years, I have a noticed a recent trend in ad campaigns that are used to promote safety and/or health.

At first, the commercials and/or ads start out relatively small. However, over time, they become more and more prominent, and everyone knows about them.

Using an example, when I was a kid, I remember seeing several commercials that advertised cartoon dinosaurs who were highly encouraging kids to brush their teeth. While I did think it was incredibly corny, looking back, it now makes perfect sense.

While Smokey the Bear can appeal more to adults (because they are allowed to have jobs as firefighters), the dinosaurs can appeal to kids because they're at an age where they need to learn just how important their teeth are. How does this relate to the article?

Overall, while some marketing strategies might be a bit different than expected, in the long run, they can end up having a very positive effect.

Post 2

Not only does the third bullet point give a very interesting perspective on Smokey the bear, but even more so, it really shows how destructive humans can be, even if it's very indirect.

It amazes me how due to the careless of humans, seventeen thousand acres of forest were burned in New Mexico. Also, while the article doesn't mention it, I wonder what caused the fire in the first place.

From what I've heard, and based on my experience, more than often, a forest fire can come about if someone is camping in the woods, and they don't put out their fire all the way. Don't forget, all it takes is one little spark to set a forest aflame.

Post 1

Wow, while I'm quite familiar with Smokey the Bear, I didn't know that his ads dated all the way back to 1944.

However, considering how he's still well known in this day and age, it really shows how more than often, age doesn't matter when it comes to things as important as ad campaign characters, especially if they're talking about something as dangerous as fires.

Also, I feel that the article does make a good (yet indirect) point about forest fires. More than often, the reason why they happen in the first place is because of our doing.

Whether it's intentional or unintentional, or whether we're just being careless, if we're not careful, we can end up destroying the life that animals love. To get a different perspective, just imagine how we would feel if someone destroyed our home, even if it was an "accident".

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?



Free Widgets for your Site/Blog

As President of Uruguay, José Mujica refused to live in the presidential mansion and gave away 90% of his salary.  more...
October 16 ,  1964 :  China became the fifth country in the world to successfully detonate a nuclear bomb.  more...