Ad Council Joins The Wireless Foundation, National Center for Missing & Exploited...

Ad Council Joins The Wireless Foundation, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and U.S. Department of Justice to Educate Hispanics about Wireless AMBER Alerts(TM)

New Spanish-language website and online PSAs urge Spanish-speaking wireless subscribers to aid in the search for abducted children


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NEW YORK, May 20 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Advertising Council, in partnership with The Wireless Foundation, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and the U.S. Department of Justice, today announced a new effort aimed at encouraging Spanish-speaking Americans to sign up for free wireless text message alerts to help law enforcement safely recover abducted children. For the first time, public service advertisements (PSAs) have been created in Spanish, directing Hispanic Americans to visit a new Spanish component of the website, www.wirelessamberalerts.org. The PSAs and instructional website debut in time for National Missing Children’s Day (May 25).

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/32889/

Statistics show that when a child is abducted, the first three hours are most critical to recovery efforts. Since its creation, the AMBER Alert program has helped reunite more than 390 children with their families, and 14 to 20 percent of all AMBER Alert activations in the last three years have involved Hispanic children. Initially launched in May 2005, the Wireless AMBER Alerts initiative is a way to extend the AMBER Alert program by reaching out to the 255 million wireless users in the United States.

In an effort to raise awareness of Wireless AMBER Alerts, the Ad Council joined NCMEC, The Wireless Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice to launch the first ever national PSA campaign promoting the alerts in May 2006. The campaign includes TV, radio, newspaper, outdoor and Internet advertising, which direct wireless subscribers to visit www.wirelessamberalerts.org and sign up for Wireless AMBER Alerts. Since the launch of the PSA campaign, media outlets have donated more than $82.5 million in advertising time and space for the ads. Additionally, more than 455,900 people have signed up for the alerts since their creation.

“This new campaign will help to extend AMBER Alert’s reach and relevance to the growing population of Americans who may not speak English as their first language,” said Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs and the National AMBER Alert Coordinator. “This is yet another example of the tireless work of our partners to maximize the utility of the AMBER Alert program.”

“We believe providing information about Wireless AMBER Alerts in Spanish will help raise awareness about this vitally important child safety tool within the Hispanic community, and we hope everyone who learns about the program, whether in English or in Spanish, is motivated to sign up and perhaps play a crucial role in the safe recovery of an abducted child,” said Steve Largent, President of The Wireless Foundation and President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association. “Thanks to innovative wireless technology, something as simple as a text message could help save a child’s life.”

The Ad Council is distributing the new online PSAs to more than 150 websites, as well as all major online advertising networks. Outreach will include Hispanic Online.com Network, La Opinion, El Mensajero, La Raza, Hispanic Enterprise, La Prensa, La Opinion and the Hispanic Digital Network. Per the Ad Council’s model, the new ads will run in donated space.

“We are delighted to join this effort to educate Hispanic Americans about Wireless AMBER Alerts,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of The Advertising Council. “These alerts have safely reunited hundreds of children with their families, and as we continue to raise awareness, we will be able to save many more children.”

All wireless subscribers who are capable of receiving text messages, and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts initiative, may opt in to receive free Alerts by registering at www.wirelessamberalerts.org or registering at their wireless carrier’s Web site. The alerts are only available in English. According to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the majority of English-Speaking Hispanic Americans (84 percent) have cell phones, and most (73 percent) have used their wireless device for text messaging, a significantly greater usage than Caucasian and African Americans. Additionally, research shows that more than half (55 percent) of Hispanic adults in the U.S. are bilingual and prefer communications in both Spanish and English (Simmons’ Unified National/Hispanic Consumer Study, 2003).

“Wireless AMBER Alerts put the power to help recover an abducted child in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people across this country,” said Guillermo Galarza, Senior Program Manager at the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, NCMEC’s sister organization. “It only takes one person to recognize an abducted child to help them come home safely, and these new resources will make it possible for many more to have access to this tool and to join the search.”

The AMBER (“America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response”) Alert initiative was created in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to find abducted children. The AMBER Alert program was soon adopted across the country and is a legacy to the memory of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Arlington, Texas and then murdered. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have since established AMBER Alert programs.

In addition to the Spanish-language online PSAs, efforts designed to help raise awareness will include a Wireless AMBER Alerts event developed in partnership with the California Highway Patrol that will be held in Los Angeles on May 23.

To learn more about the Wireless AMBER Alerts campaign and the partners, please visit www.wirelessamberalerts.org. To view the PSAs, please visit www.adcouncil.org/default.aspx?id=354.

The Advertising Council

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 effected, 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.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (R)

NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC’s congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 576,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 141,200 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 125,000 children. For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit www.missingkids.com.

The Wireless Foundation

The Wireless Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was formed by member companies of CTIA-The Wireless Association(R) in 1991. The Foundation oversees a number of programs designed to put wireless technology to work addressing the challenges of society. www.wirelessfoundation.org.

U.S. Department of Justice

The Department of Justice’s mission is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. www.usdoj.gov

The Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative is supported by Grant No. 2007-JL-FX-0013 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution images are available at: http://www.hispanicprwire.com/home.php?l=in

Ad Council Joins The Wireless Foundation, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and U.S. Department of Justice to Educate Hispanics about Wireless AMBER Alerts(TM)