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Chasing the spotlight – Saturation a challenge

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After nearly six decades as a leading force promoting social causes, the Advertising Council faces the challenge of distinguishing the causes its supports among media clutter and digital diversity, The New York Times reported Nov. 20.

The council for years promoted causes like preventing drunken driving and encouraging the use of seat belts through ad campaigns created on a volunteer basis by ad agency executives, with the council seeking free media time and space.

But critics say the Ad Council – which this year is producing and distributing $1.2 billion worth of advertising – has lost its edge.

With the media fragmented and filled with public service announcements, many of them created by agencies outside the Ad Council, critics say the council’s one-size-fits-all approach no longer works, and that its ads have lost their bite.

Peggy Conlin, a former trade magazine publisher who was named president last year, disagrees, saying the Ad Council’s commercials are still creative or compelling.

But she agrees that the crowded public-service ad field makes it tougher to stand out.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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