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August 04, 2010

Governors Awards to Norman Brokaw, the Ad Council

Iconic William Morris exec Norman Brokaw and the Ad Council, producer of unforgettable public service announcements, will each be honored with Television Academy Governors Awards at the 2010 Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday, August 21, in Los Angeles.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors has voted to bestow two prestigious Governors Awards this year, one to Norman Brokaw, Chairman Emeritus of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME), and one to the Ad Council. Television Academy Chairman-CEO John Shaffner made the announcement today.

Created in 1978, the Governors Award salutes an individual, company or organization that has made a substantial impact and demonstrated the extraordinary use of television. The award will be presented to Norman Brokaw and to the Ad Council during the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy® Awards on Saturday, August 21, at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE. The Creative Arts Awards will be shown as a two-hour special on Friday, August, 27 at 1 p.m. on E! Entertainment.

“The Ad Council and Norman Brokaw’s impact on the television industry for nearly 70 years make them both equally deserving of the Governors Award this year,” Shaffner said. “Norman’s extraordinary career achievements have helped shape the entertainment industry and its 'best practices' rules of business. The Ad Council’s cumulative years of unsurpassed public service reinforce the positive impact that the power of television can have on our society.”

“Norman Brokaw, like many of us, started out in the mailroom at William Morris, but the difference is he came first and paved the way for the rest of us,” said David Geffen. “He is a pioneer and a visionary, and helped shape the television industry. I can think of no one who is more deserving than Norman to receive the Governors Award.”

“On behalf of the Ad Council and all of our dedicated partners and supporters, we are so honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “The Ad Council is the embodiment of the creativity and generosity of the advertising, media and corporate sectors in our country, and our work is a testament to the power of advertising to improve lives and impact social change in America.”

Norman Brokaw’s distinguished career has spanned the evolutions of entertainment. He began working for the William Morris Agency (WMA) in l943 as the very first trainee in the legendary mailroom that later became the launching ground for myriad stellar entertainment agents and executives. As an architect of the WMA television department on the West Coast, Brokaw guided a skeptical "big screen" Hollywood into the "small screen" business. He brought Loretta Young and other movie stars to television, creating new and lucrative opportunities for these players.

A longtime figure in the motion picture business, Brokaw's star roster began with legendary greats like Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Susan Hayward and Ann Southern. Soon, newcomers were added to the list: Natalie Wood, Kim Novak and Marilyn Monroe. Clint Eastwood was a Brokaw signing whose talent, like Monroe's, has already passed the point of legend and into the sphere of cultural phenomenon.

In the seventies, Brokaw spearheaded WMA’s entry into the heretofore unexplored fields of sports, journalism and politics. The list of those represented in such areas includes presidents, international leaders, cabinet members, Olympic medalists, newscasters and sports stars.

As an agent whose diversity stretches into every area of the entertainment world, there could be no greater pairing than that of Norman Brokaw and his client of over 47 years, Bill Cosby. Together, this dynamic duo has scaled the heights of the literary, commercial, television, film and personal appearance arenas. From Cosby's first starring role in the groundbreaking I Spy, to the billion-dollar industry that has developed around The Cosby Show, Brokaw has co-designed and orchestrated Cosby's work to guarantee a preeminent position unchallenged by any 20th century performer.

Among Brokaw’s other clients are Priscilla Presley, Ivana Trump and Berry Gordy. He is a Life Trustee of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, has served on the board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and is president of the Betty Ford Cancer Center. He is a longstanding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

For nearly 70 years, the Ad Council, a private, nonprofit organization, has been the leading producer of public service advertisements (PSAs) in the United States. Throughout its history, the organization has had a positive impact on generations of Americans, and its campaigns have mirrored and influenced the important social issues facing the country during the last seven decades.

The Ad Council was founded in 1942 as the War Advertising Council shortly after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and was charged with rallying support for World War II. Following the success of public service advertising campaigns including “Loose Lips Sink Ships” and “Rosie the Riveter,” President Roosevelt asked the Ad Council to continue as a peacetime public service organization to address the social issues of the day. President Truman echoed that request when the war ended, and ever since, the Ad Council has been creating public service ads, many of which have become part of the American vernacular.

Today, the Ad Council’s mission remains the same: to identify a select number of significant public issues and stimulate action on those issues through communications programs that make a measurable difference in society. Advertising agencies from across the nation create the ads pro bono, and the PSAs are run in donated media time and space. The campaigns are developed in partnership with national nonprofit organizations and federal government agencies. Each year, the Ad Council receives more than $1.5 billion in donated media time and space for its 50 national PSA campaigns.

Through public service advertising, the Ad Council has presented issues and ideas to Americans that were rarely, if ever, discussed openly. For example, it was the first organization to use the word “condom” when it did so in an AIDS Prevention advertisement in the 1980s. Other groundbreaking Ad Council campaigns have addressed topics such as domestic violence, child abuse and mental health.

The Ad Council has created some of America’s best-known icons, including the Crying Indian, Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog, as well as memorable slogans such as, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” and “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

Most important, Ad Council campaigns have produced measurable results. Addressing issues ranging from protecting the environment to education and drug prevention, the results of Ad Council campaigns prove the power of public service. For example, since Vince & Larry, the Crash Test Dummies, were introduced to the American public in 1985, seat belt usage has increased from 14% to 83%, the highest percentage in U.S. history. Today, Ad Council campaigns address issues including autism awareness, foreclosure prevention and obesity prevention (as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative). For more about the Ad Council and to view current and historical campaigns, visit

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