- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Department of Homeland Security and the Advertising Council are targeting businesses with an initiative that is part of the already successful Ready campaign.

The new Ready Business campaign is designed to help owners and managers of small to medium-size businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in case of an emergency.

“The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and more recently Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan showed that disastrous events can paralyze business operations,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “Ready Business was created to help encourage every business to develop an emergency plan, thereby making our nation and our economy more secure.”

The Ready campaign began in February last year. It was designed to educate Americans to prepare for and be able to respond to terrorist attacks and other emergencies.

Since the Ready campaign kicked off, media outlets have donated more than $270 million in advertising time and space for the public-service announcements. The ads direct people to www.ready.gov or to a toll-free number, through which they can receive a free brochure detailing the best ways to protect themselves and their families.

“The Ready campaign has received unprecedented support from the media and the public during the past year and a half,” said Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive of the Ad Council. “Not only have millions of individuals responded to the messages by visiting the Web site in droves and ordering preparedness brochures, but more importantly, they are taking simple, yet critical steps to become prepared.”

The Web site has received more than 19 million unique visitors since the start of the campaign, the Ad Council said. More than 200,000 people have called the toll-free number, and 3 million brochures have been requested.

The Ready Business campaign, which can be foundon the Web site, outlines steps companies can take to help them stay in business, talk to employees and protect their investments if a disaster occurs.

“Every business should have an emergency plan,” the Web site says. “It can save lives, company assets and your entire business.”

New print and radio ads, created pro bono by the Neiman Group, will be distributed to media outlets in late November.

In other news …

• The National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America honored the area’s best work last month at its annual Thoth Awards.

At the ceremony, 30 Thoth Awards and 16 Certificates of Excellence were given to public relations agencies, corporations, government agencies, and trade and professional associations.

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide was the big winner, with three Thoth Awards and the “Best of Show” award for its work with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The agency received three more Thoth Awards for work with other clients.

The Thoth Awards competition, named after the Egyptian god of information and communication, received 118 entries in 35 categories.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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