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Don’t Give Smokey Bear a Middle Name, New Ad Campaign Says

August 20, 1990

CHICAGO (AP) _ It’s neither Santa the Claus nor Easter the bunny, and after four decades of being misidentified, another cultural icon wants it known that he, too, has no middle name.

It’s simply Smokey Bear, said the Ad Council, which helped create the ursine forest ranger in 1944.

The council has launched a national advertising campaign to eliminate the ″the″ that’s usually attached to the name of the bear best known for reminding that ″only you can prevent forest fires.″

The Ad Council has added a reminder about the bear’s name to a new $1.6 million fire prevention campaign.

In a 60-second radio spot made available nationwide last month, a boy teaches the bear’s name to a man who says he’s said Smokey the Bear his whole life.

″You wouldn’t call the Easter bunny ‘Easter ‘the’ bunny, would you?″ the boy responds.

Smokey was born after the U.S. Forest Service sought help from the Ad Council in designing a fire prevention campaign. The national council is a non-profit organization that helps develop public service advertising.

The first Smokey Bear was a human dressed in a costume. In 1950, a bear cub saved from a New Mexico forest fire was named Smokey and exhibited at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

He died in 1976, and was replaced by Smokey II, another forest-fire orphan who died earlier this month of liver cancer.

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