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UPDATE 1-Facebook, GM among brands to help fund Ad Council vaccine campaign

(Adds names of partners)

Jan 12 (Reuters) - The Ad Council on Tuesday said it has raised $37 million from corporate donors including Bank of America, Facebook and General Motors to fund a nationwide coronavirus vaccine campaign aimed at encouraging Americans to get vaccinated.

The nonprofit, known for creating the famous Smokey the Bear wildfire prevention campaign, will begin launching public service announcements this month across TV, web and social media to combat distrust and hesitation toward the COVID-19 vaccine.

Top donors supporting the campaign include NBCUniversal and parent company Comcast Corp. Linda Yaccarino, head of advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, was announced as board chair of the Ad Council last week.

Walgreens and Walmart, as well as non-profits such as the American Heart Association, will help fund the campaign, the council said.

The Ad Council is seeking to raise $50 million to develop the education program.

Particular attention will be put toward developing messages that reach racial minorities, who are more likely to distrust the healthcare industry because of decades of unequal treatment and well-documented cases of discrimination.

“Our nation’s recovery depends on widespread adoption of vaccination against COVID-19, which will require the Ad Council’s most ambitious public education effort ever,” said Lisa Sherman, chief executive of the Ad Council, in a statement.

Ad agencies including Pereira O’Dell, JOY Collective and Alma are working with the Ad Council to develop the public service announcements.

Reporting by Sheila Dang, Editing by William Maclean and Lisa Shumaker

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