National Safety Council: Firework Campaign 2011

National Safety Council: Firework Campaign 2011


National Safety Council: Firework Campaign 2011

One of SA’s amazing clients is the National Safety Council. This remarkable organization saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. The most recent campaign we produced for the NSC was a fireworks safety campaign. In 2011 fireworks within city limits became legal in the Omaha metro, so there was a major concern for public safety within the NSC. To get the ball rolling on this exciting project, Erica Sorensen of SA became the liaison between the client, creative, and media. Sorensen is an account manager who coordinated all media efforts to ensure the campaign would go off without a hitch.

Their main goal was to bring a compelling awareness about hazardous fireworks, how to handle them properly and stressing the importance of keeping children a safe distance away. An additional objective was to encourage families to attend a public display and leave the firework handling duties up to professionals. After presenting a variety of concepts to the client, one seemed to hit home. Since one of NSC’s key target demographic was middle-aged men with children, a military theme was concepted along with the creation of a memorable spokesperson.

“We needed a ‘manly’ attention getting character so we decided that it would be fun to create our own drill instructor type of guy,” says Andrew Sleight. The campaign would utilize one 30 second commercial and a series of 15 second ones featuring “Major Intelligence”, a character created by SA.

“Our hope was that he would become the conscience for people who would be setting off fireworks in Omaha,” Sleight recalls.

The Military Channel has a really popular series called ‘Top Ten’ where they illustrate weapons and describe their capabilities,” Sleight adds, “we decided to mimic their approach.”

The creative strategy was to illustrate the similarity of fireworks to military weapons. For instance, a sparkler became the “M5 Incendiary device” that burns at over 2,000 degrees and has the capability of burning down homes. So the attention-grabbing theme and message approach had been created, but now the team had a major challenge to overcome; how would the team make things look real while not really endangering anyone with fireworks?

“Our initial experimentation with a green screen was less than satisfying, so the only other option was to actually set off fireworks,” says Sleight.

This brought about some more technical challenges, but Sleight says the team had a breakthrough. Watch the video below to see how our production manager overcame these challenges and created the distinct look for the campaign in post-production.


In the end, the client and team were very excited about the finished product.


As far as the end result, Kay Farrell, President/CEO of the NSC said it best; “We’re sure the awareness created saved lives and reduced injuries.” For more information on the National Safety Council and upcoming campaigns, visit

photo credit: Express Monorail via photo pin cc