On hand at a Washington, D.C., ceremony launching the "Help Can't Wait" campaign were President Bill Clinton; celebrities Ron Howard, David Hasselhoff, Lynda Carter and Leeza Gibbons; Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot shot down and imprisoned in Somalia, who said a visit from Red Cross representatives led to improved conditions for him; and other citizens who have been the beneficiary of Red Cross disaster assistance, CPR training and blood donor programs.
The campaign takes a two-pronged approach, explained American Red Cross national ad director Nancy Crozier.
The first goal involves the unprecedented donation of corporate funds to sponsor advertising placement.
The approximately $4 million in donations from American Express Co., Anheuser-Busch, FedEx and MCI has allowed the Red Cross to purchase time on 1,200 television stations and 6,000 radio stations, as well as space for outdoor ads and in magazines. Crozier said these ads are expected to reach 90% of the target audience within two weeks.
About 1,000 major daily and weekly English and Spanish-language newspapers are being targeted with public service ads (PSAs) that include the Red Cross' first mnemonic 800 number, 1-800-HELP-NOW, which, Crozier noted, ties in with the "Help Can't Wait" slogan.
Newspaper publishers were solicited for cooperation with a letter from Dole, who asked that they run the ads especially during the month of March ? which was proclaimed American Red Cross Month by the president ? and as frequently as possible throughout the year.
Crozier said the PSAs already have appeared in several major newspapers, which traditionally show a strong response.
In conjunction with the media campaign, the Red Cross has made material available to its local chapters for their own solicitation of sponsorship and placement; letters will be sent to American homes, asking for their help; and, on March 11, chapters across the country will conduct simulated disaster drills.
"Americans have told us if we ask them to help, if we ask them to join us, they will," Dole said, adding that this campaign is "the most ambitious call for aid in decades."
President Clinton pointed out that "for all the work the Red Cross does, none of it can be done without the American people," and he called on citizens to donate their time, their money and their blood.
By: Debra Gersh Hernandez THE AMERICAN RED Cross has begun a major public awareness campaign designed to transform the organization and ensure that it is stronger than ever, said American Red Cross president Elizabeth Dole.