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Advertising in the public interest

"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library - Diner - Church. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom and I Am an American, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history, including Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Crash Test Dummies. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective PSAs on everything from student invention to global warming to arts education to community service.

Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns - Campaigns organized by category - Award-winning campaigns - PSA Central: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd) - An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF] - YouTube channel - Vimeo channel - Twitter feed
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 11, 2009 - 69 comments

concrete ships

Concrete Ships Toward the end of the First World War, and during the Second World War, the United States commisioned the construction of experimental concrete ships.
posted by dhruva on Oct 13, 2005 - 25 comments

"Vote for Lindbergh or Vote for War"

"Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear." He is one of America's great novelists, but you don't expect Philip Roth to be barreling up the best-seller list with a book that hasn't even been published yet. And yet "The Plot Against America" is in the top 3 at amazon.com. It spins a what-if scenario in which the isolationist and anti-Semitic hero Charles Lindbergh runs for president as a Republican in 1940 and defeats F.D.R. "Keep America Out of the Jewish War", reads a button worn by Lindbergh supporters rallying at Madison Square Garden. And so he does: he signs nonaggression pacts with Germany and Japan that will keep America at peace while the rest of the world burns. The Lindbergh administration hatches a nice plan to prod assimilation of the Jews. Innocuously called Just Folks, it's a relocation program for urban Jews, administered by an Office of American Absorption fronted by an obliging and pompous rabbi of radio celebrity. The teenage Roth character is shipped off to a Kentucky tobacco farm, to finally live among Christians. The book is about American Fascism, but while Roth is no fan of President Bush ("a man unfit to run a hardware store let alone a nation like this one"), he points out that he conceived this book (LATimes registration: sparklebottom/sparklebottom) in December 2000, and that it would be "a mistake" to read it "as a roman à clef to the present moment in America." (more inside)
posted by matteo on Sep 28, 2004 - 10 comments

I poo on Godwin's Law, but this isn't GW's fault....

Trading with the Enemy (Prescott Bush was a bad man) - The mainstream press decides to bring up the Bush/Nazi connection - Newly declassified documents shed new light on the shady beginnings of the Bush family's dynastic wealth: through GW Bush's grandfather Prescott Bush's work as a director of a US bank which was both controlled by the German industrialist Thyssen (who played a key role in bankrolling Hitler's rise to power) and which continued to launder Thyssen Group profits after the US declaration of war against Germany. But if you've been reading Metafilter closely, you would have known the facts almost a year ago. ( * executes clannish, self/Metafilter congratulatory victory jig * ). Will the mainstream press pick up the trail of the story, to the US government secret importation of Nazi scientists immediately after WW2? (don't hold yr. breath)
posted by troutfishing on Oct 18, 2003 - 60 comments

One Hell of a Big Bang

One Hell of a Big Bang -- Studs Turkel meets Paul Tibbets the pilot of the Enola Gay. It's a great, though-provoking and disturbing interview to read on Hiroshima Day.
posted by LMG on Aug 6, 2002 - 40 comments

The US’ World War II Monument is expected to open in 2004. The 7.4 acre monument has been roundly criticized as both “seriously flawed” and “off-key”. Apart from these critiques, I wonder if the US memoralizes too many wars and not enough peace.
posted by raaka on Nov 25, 2001 - 26 comments

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