July 12, 2002

The Advertising Council, in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Leo Burnett USA, announced the launch of a public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to inspire a new generation of "Freedom Conductors." Agency partner Leo Burnett initiated and developed the pro bono campaign to encourage Americans to speak out against issues of injustice that stand in the way of individual freedoms.

Despite all that has been accomplished in the fight for freedom since the days of slavery and the era of the Underground Railroad, this country is still far from achieving racial harmony and equality for all. The Ad Council and the Freedom Center have launched the campaign in order to inspire Americans to speak out against incidences of discrimination and do their part to promote racial equality. The message is that, through individual actions, everyone can make a difference and effect change.

"I am gratified that we have joined with the Freedom Center to bring this important message to the public and communicate that everyone has the power to do something to promote equality and prevent further acts of discrimination," according to Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of The Advertising Council. "I am confident that the media will support this powerful advertising created by Leo Burnett."

The television PSAs paint unsettling everyday situations of injustice, and examples of people who speak out against them. The ads communicate the message that by passively witnessing incidents of injustice, each one of us is perpetuating the problem. The PSAs encourage people to become active participants, rather than passive observers. Radio spots, illustrating a similar theme, will be distributed in upcoming months.

"To illustrate 'the power of one voice,' we created situations that were unnerving but universally recognizable, portrayed by characters we could all relate to," said Cheryl Berman, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett USA. "Creating this campaign gave Leo Burnett a unique opportunity to address the issue of racial discrimination in an honest and direct manner, demonstrating how it touches our most basic human interactions."

All of the PSAs conclude with the motivational tagline, "Imagine the power of one voice," delivered by actor Danny Glover. Viewers are directed to visit the Freedom Center's website at www.freedomcenter.org to find more ways to get involved and to get an informational brochure.

According to National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President Edwin J. Rigaud, "These public service announcements are extremely powerful. They will teach all of us that we can take individual steps of courage to eliminate injustice and unkindness in how we deal with each other every day. These are the same lessons from the history of the Underground Railroad that the Freedom Center will highlight to help bring us together today."

The Ad Council is distributing the PSAs nationwide to more than 15,000 television and radio outlets. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the public service ads will be run in advertising time and space donated by the media.

To preview the PSAs, please go to http://www.leoburnett.com/breaking/railroad/index.html

For more information at http://www.adcouncil.org

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