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US Forest Service: Smokey Bear 75th Birthday by FCB & The Ad Council

Date: Apr 2019
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In honor of Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday (August 9, 2019) the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and the Ad Council have teamed up with FCB – the original agency to work on Smokey – to celebrate the nation’s favorite bear. To ensure that Smokey Bear’s important message of wildfire prevention is heard throughout the nation, Stephen Colbert, Al Roker and Jeff Foxworthy have joined the historic campaign, lending their voices to help expand on Smokey’s iconic catchphrase through the use of facial recognition and voice technologies.

For years, through the assured voice of actor Sam Elliott, Smokey Bear has only said five words: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” Now, to complement this signature message, Smokey’s friends are stepping up to say more about wildfire prevention on his behalf and help millions of Americans understand the importance of the issue, especially as wildfires become more widespread and deadly. Utilizing facial recognition and mapping technology, coupled with instantly recognizable celebrity voices, the animated emoji campaign has enabled Smokey’s famous friends to speak through him and further raise awareness of fire safety and wildfire prevention, in an effort to reduce the incidence of unplanned human-caused wildfires.

Colbert’s effort finds him calling himself ‘Stephen Col-bear’ as he says that he’s filling in for Smokey. He states that 90% of wildfires are caused by humans being careless. “I guess Billy (Joel) was wrong. We did start the fire,” he states. The video shows the animated head of Smokey against outdoor backdrops. Foxworthy and Roker also add their own signature spins to the animations.



The Ad Council

USDA Forest Service

National Association of State Foresters