Finding truth in advertising is not a common occurrence in the twentieth century. Mass media generally produce ads that exhibit falsities and manipulate the emotions of the public. The concept of true and false advertising goes back to classical rhetorical theory. Plato's study of true and false rhetoric, known as Phaedrus and Gorgias respectively, became a moral foundation for rhetorical theory (Goldman, 51-56). In 1942, The USDA Forest Service partnered with The Advertising Council. They took the first step to truth-in-advertising by creating the category of public service advertising (PSA). The Ad Council has created many PSA's to raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. The Ad Council has effected positive change in many generations. .
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that produces, distributes and promotes thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventative health, education, community well being, environmental preservation and strengthening families. .
Their goal is to continue to inspire through their PSA's so that future generations can reap the benefits of their efforts. The Smokey Bear PSA created by The Ad Council has been the longest running PSA in US history (www.adcouncil.org). The need for the Smokey Bear campaign arose during World War II. There was concern that attacks on American soil could create raging forest fires, loss of life and overwhelming destruction of property. Protection of forests became a matter of national importance. The idea was to urge people to be more careful in hopes that some forest fires could be prevented (www.smokeybear.com). .
In 1944, Disney allowed the Ad Council to use "Bambi" on their first campaign poster (see fig. 1). The poster was a great success, but "Bambi" was only on loan from Walt Disney studios for one year.