CONTACT: Chrissy Stevens (212) 982-9699
Historic PSA Campaign Launching on Veterans Day (Nov. 11)IAVA and Ad Council's Groundbreaking Ads Target Returning Troops
NEW YORK- Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced the launch of a historic Public Service Advertising (PSA) campaign in partnership with the Ad Council. The groundbreaking, multiyear effort seeks to ease the readjustment for servicemembers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The campaign will feature powerful PSAs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans created pro bono by advertising agency BBDO in New York. The Veterans Support Campaign is launching on Veterans Day, and will run in donated media across the country including TV, radio, print and web.
"This historic campaign will save lives. The Veterans Support Campaign will also finally turn the page on how veterans were treated after Vietnam," said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Executive Director."Our massive and unprecedented effort will connect veterans with one another and ease their transition to civilian life. Created by veterans, for veterans, this innovative media campaign is like nothing America has ever seen. People nationwide will be moved to tears and motivated to action. The Veterans Support Campaign is the welcome home that our newest generation of heroes have been waiting for."
Extensive research was conducted to develop The Veteran Support Campaign, including focus groups around the country, extensive consultation with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and the involvement of a panel of top mental health experts. All PSAs direct viewers to the first and only online community exclusive to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, www.CommunityofVeterans.org. The innovative social networking website offers a unique platform for veterans to connect with one another confidentially and serves as a portal for comprehensive mental health resources.
"Through our extensive research, it became clear that a critical part of a veteran's successful readjustment is connecting with other veterans," said Rieckhoff. "Veterans want to be linked up with other veterans who understand. This campaign does exactly that, and reaches new veterans where they already are - online. CommunityofVeterans.org is like a MySpace or Facebook exclusively for new veterans."
The powerful TV PSA, Alone, features two Iraq veterans and Purple Heart recipients, Bryan Adams and Todd Bowers. The ad follows a young servicemember (Adams) when he returns from Iraq, first in an empty airport terminal, alone on a subway and later, walking through desolate New York City streets. Adams reaches an empty intersection totally alone, where he is approached by another Iraq veteran (Bowers). A powerful connection is made as Bowers extends his hand, and welcomes Adams home. As the two men shake hands, the deserted city instantly comes alive, illustrating the power of connecting one veteran with another. The filming required extensive cooperation from the City of New York, as the shoot of the ad shut down an entire terminal at JFK International Airport, closed parts of the city's number 7 subway train , and blocked off multiple Manhattan blocks in the Flatiron and Wall Street areas. B-rolls footage and still photos of the shoot are available to press upon request.
"Returning home from Iraq was much more challenging than I could have imagined," said Bryan Adams, "I'm thrilled to be part of this effort to ease the homecoming for thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans like me. I wish this campaign had existed when I came home. It will make a huge impact."
A complementary PSA effort to engage veterans' loved ones will launch in the coming months. It will empower veterans' friends and families to start a conversation about the challenges the veteran may be facing and will include a website that provides resources and guidance.
"IAVA is grateful to the Ad Council and BBDO for their extraordinary commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans," said Rieckhoff. "Together, we will truly welcome our nation's newest generation of heroes home."
Press can access campaign materials, including the TV spot and print ads at: http: www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/34661/.
To arrange an interview with IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, Bryan Adams, Todd Bowers or another veteran involved in the campaign, please contact Chrissy Stevens (212)-982-9699 or Chrissy@iava.org.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 125,000 veteran members and civilian supporters nationwide.