Since 1944, public icon Smokey the Bear has been teaching Americans about fire prevention. Rather than letting him retire, the U.S. Forest Service is giving him a makeover and sending back out into the field to teach new generations. This piece from the LA Times has all you need to know about Smokey’s impressive history and his new makeover. Today’s Smokey tweets, growls less, and gives bear hugs—and singer Pharrell Williams dresses like him. No, really. One long-time ad exec had this to say about the magic behind Smokey’s staying power:
With Smokey, you can feel the humanity and the vulnerability of the character,” said [Howie] Cohen, chief creative officer of the Phelps Group in Santa Monica. “He is the expert on fire safety, but he lives in the forest so you want to protect him and all his little furry friends…. That’s anthropomorphism at its finest.