Smokey the Bear has a long history of educating the public; 75 years to be exact! The mascot’s fire-prevention campaign was first introduced in 1944 and since then, has continued to reduce human-caused wildfires. Now, in honor of Smokey’s 75th anniversary, none other than American treasure Betty White lent her voice to his most recent public service announcement.
To celebrate Smokey’s milestone, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council are releasing all new PSAs featuring the Golden Girls actress Betty White, among other celebrities. There will also be a new Smokey Bear balloon in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as celebratory events across the U.S.
For the last 12 years, Smokey has been voiced by actor Sam Elliot, but White’s voice is equally as iconic. I mean, who else is better suited to convey his signature message, “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”? No one, that’s who. But the PSA is getting a bit of a 2019 update. White, along with Stephen Colbert, Jeff Foxworthy, and Al Roker will lend their voices to an emoji version of Smokey the Bear, thanks to ad cutting-edge facial recognition and mapping technology. The campaign also encourages an appreciation of the outdoors and the preservation of America’s forests.
Though Smokey’s catchphrase is widely recognized by U.S. adults, 9 out of 10 wildfires are still caused by humans, his message is just as important now as it was 75 years ago. But with Betty White on deck, we have to imagine the campaign will be as successful as ever.
Betty White lent her legendary voice to this important wildfire PSA pic.twitter.com/qUUW6z1keD
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) August 8, 2019