NEW YORK, NY — The Advertising Council and the American Stroke Association announced today the launch of new public service advertisements (PSAs) intended to raise awareness among African Americans of the early symptoms of stroke and to increase immediate stroke recognition and response.  The PSAs were created by Burrell Communications.

According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the number three killer in the United States and a leading cause of long-term disability. Tragically, African Americans are almost twice as likely to suffer a first-ever stroke as compared with white Americans. Furthermore, 105,000 African Americans suffer a stroke each year, resulting in about 17,500 deaths. Immediate emergency medical treatment may greatly reduce long-term disability caused by stroke but African American men and women hesitate to call 9-1-1.

The campaign, which originally launched in 2003, aims to empower potential at-risk African Americans and bystanders to act immediately by calling 9-1-1 at the first possible sign of a stroke.

Created pro bono by ad agency Burrell Communications, the campaign includes new television, radio, web and outdoor public service advertisements emphasizing to African Americans that “Stroke’s No Joke.” The TV, radio and banner PSAs feature comedians Alonzo Bodden and George Wilborn performing stand-up routines juxtaposed with the campaign’s compelling “Stroke’s No Joke” messages to illustrate the seriousness of stroke. All of the PSAs direct audiences to visit the new campaign website,, where they can learn more about the risk factors and warning signs of stroke.

“We are pleased with the new PSA concepts and are confident that our partnership with Burrell Communications and the Ad Council will be well received by the public and will bring more awareness to this serious issue that is affecting too many African Americans,” says Rani Whitfield, MD, Family Practitioner and American Stroke Association volunteer.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the American Stroke Association and Burrell on this critical campaign,” according to Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of The Advertising Council. “I believe these messages will educate African Americans about the importance of early response to the warning signs of a stroke.”

“Burrell has a 30-year legacy of developing insight-based marketing communications that resonate with the African-American community, ” said McGhee Williams Osee, Burrell’s Co-CEO. ” We welcomed the opportunity to draw upon our extensive healthcare marketing experience to shine an important spotlight on this critical issue, and encourage a meaningful dialogue that can help save lives.”

The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs to media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

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