'Ask What You Can Do' - Campaign Honors JFK's Presidency

NEW YORK, NY, January 20, 2011 –  An integrated television, print and PR effort that celebrates the legacy, ideals, vision, passion and spirit of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) and urges Americans to become involved in public service, is launching today to mark the 50th anniversary of his Inauguration. 

The “Ask Not” effort was developed pro-bono by Ogilvy & Mather New York with Ogilvy Public Relations and is part of a broad educational campaign that includes events, and an innovative multimedia website, JFK50.org, created by JFK’s son-in-law Edwin Schlossberg.  Ogilvy has been working with Schlossberg and the Kennedy Library on this project for over a year.

To drive awareness of the initiative, Ogilvy developed a two-part public service campaign, entitled “Ask” and “Ask Not,” the latter of which stars Jimmy Fallon.  The first, “Ask,” is a 60-second vignette that showcases key events over the past 50 years which take the viewer through a brief history of JFK, ‘the man,’ his belief system and why he still matters, 50 years later.  It highlights how he challenged a nation to stand with him against racism and war, to join him to become involved in the community, and to think ‘big’ and motivate others to create change. 

The “Ask Not,” effort is comprised of three public service ads starring Jimmy Fallon.  The ads urge consumers to refrain from getting caught up in the trivialities, consumerism and celebrity worship that are too common today and instead, to take action and becoming involved in their communities.

“John F. Kennedy was an incredible man. He challenged us to take a stand to be better than ourselves and to ‘dream’ of the impossible,” said Chris Curry, Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather.  “This campaign was not only created in the memory of JFK, but inspired by him. We see the anniversary of the inauguration as an opportunity to make those words relevant again to a new generation, and inspire a kind of idealism and activism that can be in short supply these days.”

“Nearly 50 years have passed since President John Fitzgerald Kennedy sparked an era of progress, innovation, and inspiration based on excellence,” said Ed Schlossberg, principal of ESI whose firm designed and created the website. “The key objective of the campaign is to commemorate his legacy, and with JFK50.org we are giving a new generation the opportunity to appreciate the importance of past achievements and events and better understand his vision.”

The Kennedy Library Foundation partnered with Comcast, Viacom and CBS to offer sponsorships and the expertise needed to make the campaign a reality. The national television spots and public service announcements will premiere on January 20, and run on Viacom, Comcast and CBS properties, as well as www.JFK50.org .  Comcast Xfinity will also run clips from the digital archives.

More details about the campaign can be found at the website www.JFK50.org.

Click here to see the public service ads. 


Contact: Toni Lee
Date: January 20, 2011
Office: New York