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Press Release: Ad Council Joins 3 Leading Environmental Groups to Promote Ocean Aware

AD COUNCIL JOINS THREE LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS IN UNPRECEDENTED PARTNERSHIP TO PROMOTE OCEAN AWARENESS

Massive PSA campaign to feature Disney’s The Little Mermaid Characters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 4, 2006 – The Advertising Council announces today in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Defense and The Walt Disney Studios’ Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment Division, the launch of a multi-media public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to encourage all Americans to protect the oceans from the devastation of marine debris.

The campaign, which prominently features scenes and characters from Disney’s ocean-themed animated classic, The Little Mermaid, marks the first time that the three environmental organizations have partnered on the important issue of ocean protection. The use of such universally loved characters will help to deliver this vital environmental message in a family friendly way.

Over half of the nation’s population lives along the coast, while many others visit the ocean each year. Yet, few Americans are aware that the health of our oceans is currently at risk; nor do they realize that they have a significant role to play in keeping the oceans clean. No matter where people live, marine debris, such as fast food packaging; cigarette lighters/butts/packaging; beverage containers and disabled or waste fishing gear either enters the oceans directly when discarded near the coast, or indirectly via rivers, streams and storm drains which ultimately flow into the oceans. In fact, routine activities on land and water contribute to 6.4 million tons of debris entering the oceans each year.

The majority of marine debris is comprised of plastics, which cause environmental problems they degrade even more slowly in seawater than on land. In fact, discarded plastic bags comprise over 50% of dangerous marine items and are consumed by marine mammals such as sea turtles and whales. This consumption causes blockage of their intestinal tracts, which can lead to choking and starvation. Additionally, thousands of seals, sea lions, whales, dolphins and sea turtles also become entangled in plastic debris or in lost and discarded fishing lines and nets every year. This not only destroys marine habitat, but causes skin lesions, ulcerating wounds, suffocation and death.

The new campaign is designed to raise awareness among Americans about the health of the oceans and the impact of human actions on the ocean ecosystem. The campaign also seeks to inspire individuals to identify ways they can take action to help keep our oceans clean.

“We all love and enjoy the oceans, but studies show that the majority of Americans rarely think about how our actions impact their well-being. Research shows that ocean pollution is low on our list of environmental concerns,” said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of The Advertising Council. “This campaign beautifully conveys how important and easy it is to protect our oceans.”

The Little Mermaid’s enchanting ocean setting made it the perfect visual foundation for this project. As the most requested animated Disney DVD title, it is very recognizable to parents and families, who watch the movie and have an emotional connection with the characters — and are the key demographic for making a difference on this environmental issue. The PSAs feature the classic characters Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian, as well as others from The Little Mermaid. All of the PSAs communicate to audiences that, regardless of where you live, “life in the oceans depends on you” and encourages us all to dispose of trash properly.

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