January 27, 2003 The Library of Congress and the Ad Council Launch New Campaign To Encourage Historical Literacy

"It's Fun to Know History"

Press Contact: Jill D. Brett, (202) 707-2905, [email protected]
Public Contact: John Sayers, (202) 707-9216, [email protected]; Guy Lamolinara, (202) 707-9217, [email protected]
Contact: Ellyn Fisher, (212) 984-1964, [email protected], Ad Council

The Library of Congress announces the launch of new public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to encourage adults to learn more about American history by visiting the Library of Congress' Web site, www.loc.gov. Created pro bono by advertising agency DDB Chicago and distributed by The Ad Council, the television and radio ads engage viewers and listeners by highlighting instances in which people incorporate historical facts into comical situations.

The Library of Congress' Web site at www.loc.gov is one of the principal providers of electronic educational content in the nation. The Web site features a new monthly magazine, called "Wise Guide" that is an appealing, easy-to-use portal into the vast resources on the site. The PSAs inform viewers and listeners about curious and fascinating facts about America's past that are featured at www.loc.gov and conclude with the tagline, "It's fun to know history."

The Ad Council and DDB Chicago began working with the Library of Congress on April 24, 2000 to generate awareness of the Library of Congress' family-targeted Web site, www.americaslibrary.gov. This site was developed to commemorate the Library's 200th birthday. The original PSA campaign has received more than $114 million in donated media since 2000. The family Web site has received nearly 300 million hits since then and won numerous awards. Most recently, the Web site's "Meet Amazing Americans" section was chosen for inclusion in the Jan. 19 issue of www.4kids.org. This syndicated feature, published in more than 70 newspapers in the United States and abroad, provides information on high-quality, educational and safe Web sites for kids.

"The Library of Congress is once again delighted to be working with the Advertising Council on this new public service campaign," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The Wise Guide" was specifically designed to introduce users to the millions of freely available, fascinating educational resources on the Library of Congress Web site. We look forward to a collaboration as successful as our initial partnership with the Ad Council."

The television and radio PSAs are being distributed later this month to more than 12,000 media outlets nationwide and will air in advertising time that is donated by the media.

Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Advertising Council, said, "Studies show that, although most Americans profess an interest in history, a large majority cannot identify major historical figures and events. This new advertising will entertain audiences while they learn some fascinating facts about our country. I am confident that the media will continue their generous support of the campaign."

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is many things: the research arm of Congress, the Copyright Office of the United States, a national library for the blind and physically handicapped, the home of the Poet Laureate, a national digital library and the world's largest library, containing more than 125 million items in nearly every language and format-from ancient Chinese woodblock prints to compact discs. Founded in 1800 to serve the reference needs of Congress, the Library has grown into an unparalleled treasure house of knowledge and creativity.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council is a private, nonprofit organization with a 60-year history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has produced thousands of public service campaigns that address the most pressing social issues of the day. Ad Council icons and slogans are woven into the very fabric of American culture-from Smokey Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" and McGruff the Crime Dog's "Take a Bite Out of Crime," to the United Negro College Fund's "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste," and "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." The Ad Council received $1.58 billion in donated advertising time and space from the media last year. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit its Web site, www.adcouncil.org.

DDB Chicago

DDB Chicago is the largest of the DDB agencies worldwide, with more than 750 employees and 2000 billings of $1.5 billion and is one of the world's most awarded agencies, in terms of creativity and effectiveness. The agency works for a strong roster of blue-chip clients including Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's, Dell, State Farm, FTD, JCPenney, Unilever, QWEST Communications, Dairy Management Inc. and Wrigley.


PR 03-007
ISSN 0731-3527