Ayzenberg’s VP of brand integration, Bill Buckley, leads a wide-ranging conversation with Ro Patrick, senior vice president at the Ad Council. Questions answered include: What are the critical issues being tackled today that we need to create communications for and how can brands get involved? How does research empower strategy for the Ad Council when developing the right approach, message and audience?

Patrick explores the origins of the Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that develops the advertising for public service announcements, or as she puts it, uses “the power of communications to do good.” As SVP, Patrick leads the development of these public service campaigns for national nonprofits and government agencies.

“We believe in everyone coming together to do good,” says Patrick. She shares the content development and deployment process that ultimately led to 77% of Americans seeing at least one form of a PSA around COVID-19 from the organization. “We got that message out there and it’s really thanks to the industry coming together and not having an ego.”

Patrick also discusses how there’s room for anyone in the industry under the “really big tent” that is the Ad Council. She shares how the pandemic galvanized the Ad Council’s core mission established over 80 years ago. “We were wired for crises,” says Patrick. She also reflects on the Ad Council’s role in externalizing and internalizing racial equality. “As an industry… we’ve got to do better.”

“There’s a lot of work to be done for us to become a more inclusive and diverse industry. For us, at the Ad Council, we launched a host of new commitments and processes to really ensure we have a foundation to foster inclusivity.” 

Patrick states that to become an anti-racist organization involves continual public accountability and involved leveraging the Ad Council ‘machine’ to elevate existing BIPOC social justice movements.

Other topics include how the Ad Council is fostering STEM education among young girls and women with Dare To STEM, approaching sensitivity around retirement messaging (especially in light of the current economic uncertainty) and efforts around vaccine education informed by public health research.

About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.