Call it public support, social license, or normalization; we all know that community support for prescribed fire is critical to protecting and expanding its use. February 2023 marks the fourth year of a modern advertising campaign by Tall Timbers and the Florida Forest Service to build support and activate those who already know the power of prescribed fire.
Work on the campaign concepts began in 2019, with ads delivered in 2020, 2021, and 2022 through a three-year public-private partnership between the Florida Forest Service and Tall Timbers.
The annual ad campaigns have all used short videos and text to share key messages with target audiences and call them to action. But, going beyond awareness building, the strategy is to challenge those who know the power of prescribed fire to “let neighbors know.” Peer-to-peer communication diversifies the voices speaking up for fire and allows the message to persist beyond the paid ads.
Each year, ads have been delivered using different tools, including social media, broadcast television, and other internet marketing. Ads typically run for a month or two during the spring burn season. The currently running 2023 ad—video below—utilizes digital cable, streaming channels, and YouTube. Varying delivery methods have allowed us to reach people differently and evaluate performance. We averaged around 14 million ad views or impressions for the first three years. We hope to have an even higher reach in 2023.
WhyPrescribedFire.org is the campaign website created to help Floridians let neighbors know that prescribed fire protects the lands we love and the communities we live in. This streamlined site provides easy access to sharable videos, sharable answers to common questions, and the Florida Forest Service’s interactive map to stay in the know about local prescribed fires.
We are thankful to the Red Hills region landowners who graciously stepped forward to fund the private portion of this statewide campaign in 2020-2022. Their private investment helped build the campaign and paved the way for increased public funding in 2023.
Coordinating a large-scale marketing campaign is a learning and growth opportunity for Tall Timbers. We are an organization that values in-person and out-of-door connections first. However, modern marketing offers a targeted way to reach and engage larger audiences to support prescribed fire.
Now it’s your turn. Talk about prescribed fire with newcomers. Share a post. Answer a question. You’re the key to protecting a practice that’s protected us all for years.