With the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa getting worse by the day, the Ad Council and U.S. Agency for International Development are stepping up their “FWD” campaign. It seeks to raise awareness of the disaster by encouraging individuals to “forward” facts about it to others -- with the help of celebrity athletes from the NFL.
The new phase of the FWD campaign consists of TV spots, developed by the Ad Council and volunteer advertising agency R/GA, featuring NFL stars from teams nationwide.
The list of players appearing in the spots includes Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens; Asante Samuel, cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles; Nnamdi Asomugha, cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles; Maurice Jones-Drew, running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars; and LaMarr Woodley, linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, among others.
Like previous spots in the campaign, the PSAs will be distributed by the Ad Council to media outlets worldwide, where they will run in donated airtime.
Launched in September, FWD (which is also an acronym for the causes of the disaster -- famine, war, and disease) encourages viewers to support humanitarian organizations engaged in relief operations, including the American Refugee Committee, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, UNICEF USA, World Vision, and World Food Program USA.
Individuals can text GIVE to 777444 to donate $10 to the consortium of humanitarian organizations listed above. The campaign also aims to raise awareness and build support for the Obama administration's “Feed the Future Initiative,” which is intended to prevent similar disasters before they start.
The campaign directs audiences to www.usaid.gov/FWD to find more information, including a listing of U.S.-funded humanitarian organizations working in the Horn of Africa.
In addition to TV PSAs, the FWD campaign also includes radio and Web ads featuring well-known actors and public figures, as well as an extensive social media program leveraging USAID's Facebook and Twitter channels, third-party blogs and other sites.
According to the organizers, since its launch the FWD campaign has resulted in 117 million social media shares, reaching 18 million people on Twitter and 50 million on Facebook.
With tens of thousands already dead, 4 million people are currently experiencing food shortages and 13 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa, making this the region’s worst famine in six decades.