Smokey Is Back, With Bear Hugs

New ad campaign is fuzzier

Caty Enders

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Despite the explosion of fire season across the country the past few years, Smokey the Bear has been conspicuously absent, leaving us all scratching our heads and asking each other, “Only who can prevent forest fires?”

That’s because the Advertising Council has been hard at work on Smokey 2.0, who’s back this month in a new ad campaign with a propensity for PDA and a lot less finger wagging.

According to the New York Times, the retooling of the bear’s image as a silent but supportive woodland steward is the result of the Ad Council’s discovery that nobody actually knew what the heck he wanted from us.

The reason to do so now, he said, was recent surveys showing that although Smokey “is very recognizable,” many people — particularly those ages 18 to 34 — “weren’t sure what Smokey was asking them to do tangibly” to help him prevent wildfires.

And as the videos below demonstrate, a bear hug is worth a thousand words.

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