The Smurfs™ Encourage Children to Get Outside and Discover the Forest
June 21, 2013
In an effort to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and reconnect with nature, the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council are joining Sony Pictures Entertainment to launch a series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring characters and footage from Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation’s upcoming family comedy The Smurfs™ 2.The PSAs are an extension of the U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council’s Discover the Forest campaign and will be featured at an event on Saturday, June 22, at The Grove in Los Angeles as part of the studio’s “America the Bluetiful ”initiative, a nationwide tour where the Smurfs aim to “bluetify” America through a series of environmentally friendly activities.
Initially launched in 2009, the Discover the Forest campaign encourages children and their families to get outside and experience the many benefits of nature. The goal of the campaign is to instill a love for nature in children, ultimately creating a lifelong interest and legacy of stewardship through first-hand experience. Created pro bono by Sony Pictures, the new PSAs feature Smurfs characters enjoying the beauty and benefits of their forest home, and encourage both parents and children to experience all the wonder that nature has to offer.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 245 million Americans live within 100 miles from a National Forest or Grassland. While most of the time that U.S.children are outdoors is spent participating in activities such as biking, walking, listening to music, or using electronic devices, nature-based activities, such as hiking, camping, and fishing are not as common. Research has shown that children who play outside have lower stress levels and more active imaginations, become fitter and leaner, develop stronger immune systems and are more likely to become environmentally conscious in the future.
"We are excited to have the Smurfs help us in trying to get more kids out to enjoy their natural surroundings," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Nearly 10 percent of this country consists of national forests and grasslands, offering an abundance of lands for children from all walks of life to get out and play."
ThePSAs encourage children and their parents to visit www.DiscoverTheForest.org where they can find ideas for outdoor activities, an interactive map tool — powered by Google and Nature Find™ — that enables users to search for nearby forests and parks, as well as a downloadable activity sheet featuring Smurfs characters for them to print and take with them when they visit.
“The Smurfs are classic characters adored by generations and they’re also inhabitants of the forest who know firsthand the many benefits the forest has to offer,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “These new PSAs with Sony Pictures are a wonderful extension of our efforts to engage children and families in discovering the joys of nature.”
The Ad Council and the U.S. Forest Service will promote the new PSAs through a multifaceted social media effort on Facebook and Twitter. An online promotion kicking off next week, and continuing through July, encourages families to visit the forest, take photos of something blue, and submit via social media to enter for a chance to win a Smurfs prize.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the Discover the Forest campaign,” said George Leon,executive vice president, Worldwide Consumer Marketing for Sony Pictures. “The Smurfs have a timeless message of harmony with the environment, so we felt that this collaboration was a natural and a great chance to encourage people to get out and enjoy our blue planet.”
America the Bluetiful is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s nationwide series of environmental efforts, in which kids and their parents can meet the Smurfs as they clean up their local parks, encourage recycling, plant trees, and discover other ways they can help “bluetify” our country.
The new PSAs are in addition to the campaign’s current parent-targeted ads, which encourage families to “unplug” and experience the forest, and are being distributed to approximately 33,000 media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the ads will air in advertising time donated by the media. Since the campaign’s inception, media outlets have donated more than $120 million in time and space for the campaign.
In The Smurfs™ 2, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties to kidnap Smurfette and bring her to Paris - in the hopes that she will reveal the magic spell that will turn the Naughties into real Smurfs and make him the world's greatest sorcerer. The film is directed by Raja Gosnell and produced by Jordan Kerner. The screenplay is by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn and Karey Kirkpatrick with a story by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss & Jay Scherick & David Ronn, Based on the Characters and Works of Peyo.
About U.S.Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service (www.fs.fed.us) manages 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands for the American Public. Its mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The U.S.Forest Service is the agency responsible for overseeing the use of Smokey Bear in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and The Advertising Council. The Wildfire Prevention campaign, featuring Smokey Bear, is the longest running PSA campaign in U.S. history.
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.
The story of the Smurfs - a property created by Peyo - started in 1958 with the creation of comic books which were later brought to both the big and small screen. Over the years, the little blue characters haven't just limited themselves to the page and the screen. They have inspired records and CDs that have sold millions of copies, entire collections of figurines and toys, and many more products. In all, more than 3,000 derived products have been produced and leading brands and companies have spread their messages worldwide with the help of the Smurfs. A multitude of new projects appear regularly, thus making the success of the Smurfs planetary!
About SonyPictures Entertainment
SonyPictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., asubsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompassmotion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production,acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation anddistribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of newentertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information,go to http://www.sonypictures.com.
About SonyPictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The studio is following its worldwide comedy hits – the 2012 monster hit comedy Hotel Transylvania, the 2011 hybrid live action/animated blockbuster The Smurfs, and the 2009 mouth-watering Cloudy with aChance of Meatballs – with The Smurfs 2 in July 2013,and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 in September 2013. Sony Pictures Animation, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2007, Surf's Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise, turned 10 in 2012. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.
About LafigBelgium S.A.
LafigBelgium is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on theSmurf universe and of the Smurf worldwide licensing rights (together withIMPS). Lafig Belgium is controlled by the heirs of Pierre Culliford, betterknown under his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of the Smurfs. For 50 years,the Culliford family has controlled the Smurf characters and all licensesworldwide.
U.S.Forest Service Press Offices
The Ad Council
SeniorVice President, Media Relations