The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : Tell Me More

The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian

Play associated audio

You might remember phrases like "only you can prevent forest fires," spoken by Smokey Bear or "take a bite outta crime," from McGruff the Crime Dog. But how much do you really know about the company behind these iconic campaigns? Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Wendy Melillo, author of the new book How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns about some of the hidden messages within these ads.

Interview Highlights



On The Companies Behind The Crying Indian

As the ad industry is praising it, environmental groups are crying foul, arguing that, look who this ad is done on behalf of. The sponsoring organization is a Stamford, Connecticut based non-profit called Keep America Beautiful... The people who are behind Keep America Beautiful are the packaged good manufacturers in this country. So we're talking — McDonald's, Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Reynolds Aluminium, Nestle Waters, the American Chemistry Council — these are the people who produce both the chemicals and the packaging material that ends up in our waste stream and in our garbage stream.


On How Smokey Bear Can Make Forest Fires Worse

Smokey preaches a fire suppression message. And if you talk to fire historians and people who study fire, this is a problem with our wildfire problem we have today. If you suppress fire, naturally occurring fires caused by lightning don't burn off that underbrush. And if you don't burn off that underbrush, when you do get one of these out-of-control fires, it just is very difficult to control. So the fire suppression message was problematic.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Other Rock History

What makes an essential rock song? Musicologist Greil Marcus argues that it's not the stature of the performer, but the degree to which a song tells the story of rock 'n' roll itself.
NPR

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

Oxfam is scoring the 10 biggest food companies on a scale of 1 to 10 on a host of issues, from worker rights to climate change. But will promises translate into concrete changes?
NPR

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

The Texas governor is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official, but he claims he was just doing what governors do: Vetoing a budget item.
NPR

New GoPro Camera Harness Captures Dog's-Eye View

This past week, the camera maker GoPro unveiled the Fetch harness, which allows people to attach the durable cameras to their dogs. The company was inspired by some DIY efforts at pet videography.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.