Campaign: National PSAs Strive to Educate, Keep Kids Safer Online

By on Thursday, February 18, 2010

Media Follow-Up & Key Partnerships Take an Ad Council PSA Campaign to #1

Situation: One in seven children is sexually solicited online, and the majority of these solicitations go to teen girls. Yet parents don’t know how to talk with teens about this important issue. In 2004, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) partnered with the Ad Council to create a public service advertising (PSA) campaign talking directly to parents and teenage girls about the potential risks that exist online.

Year 1’s public service spots talked to parents and urged them to get informed about online lingo, to consider the implications of allowing unfettered access to their children through the Internet, and to “Help Delete Online Predators.” The second year of the campaign talked to girls directly about online safety and urged them to “Don’t Believe the Type.” Ads for parents were also translated into Spanish. New ads were released in 2007.

Solution: To maximize placement for the campaign with newspaper, magazine, radio, television and web outlets, NCMEC turned to Steppingstone LLC for public relations services. Steppingstone LLC designed and implemented an outreach strategy for radio and television public service directors organized by media market, as well as a follow-up plan for reporters covering online enticement.

Thousands of phone calls and email messages were sent out to encourage usage of the PSA’s and stimulated additional stories about how parents could keep children safer online. We also followed up with several partnering groups and media outlets to place additional stories about online safety and offering advice on how to keep children safer online.

Results: Stories and public service announcements appeared in numerous media outlets, and stimulated national discussion about the safety of children online. One PSA director told us she was running the PSAs because they were well-done, and because she “thinks the issue is very important and there is nothing available locally to help educate the community about online safety for children.”

Another PSA director told us that hearing the PSAs on a competing station inspired him to talk to his teenager about online safety, and to find the PSAs, and get them on the air at his own station.

Among the 48 active Ad Council campaigns that year, the campaign ranked #1 in donated media for the second quarter of 2006, with approximately $31.6 million dollars in donated time. The campaign received more than $133 million dollars in donated advertising in 2006.

Client: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

Steppingstone LLC Services Provided: Campaign design, targeted audience outreach, media outreach, public service campaign placement, writing

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