ACLU Picks DeVito/Verdi Advertising to Handle Civil Liberties Account

June 8, 1999 12:00 am

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Tuesday, June 8, 1999

NEW YORK CITY–The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that it has chosen the award-winning firm of DeVito/Verdi to handle its advertising account.

The firm won the account after competing with three agencies in New York and California. Based in New York City, DeVito/Verdi is known for its controversial, attention-getting ads, including a recent print advocacy campaign for the Pro-Choice Public Education Project on the right to choose abortion.

“Although some people may think the ACLU gets enough attention all on its own, we’re always looking for new ways to communicate the American values the ACLU protects,” said Ira Glasser, Executive Director of the ACLU.

“We want to target opinion leaders,” Glasser added, “but we also want to reach out to a broader audience: those members of the public we call ‘persuadables,’ that is, people who are highly likely to share the ACLU’s core values even if they don’t agree with everything we do.”

DeVito/Verdi was named Best Small Creative Agency in the U.S. for four consecutive years by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

In 1997, the agency created a bus ad campaign for New York magazine poking fun at Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani with the tag line, “Probably the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for.” The New York Civil Liberties Union wrote a friend-of-the-court brief on the magazine’s behalf when the mayor yanked the ads. An appeals court ultimately agreed that the magazine had a First Amendment right to use the mayor’s name.

“We are delighted to be working for such an essential institution as the ACLU,” said Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi. “We know from personal experience how effective they can be and we look forward to communicating that message to the public.”

The ACLU is a nationwide, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending and preserving the Bill of Rights for all individuals through litigation, legislation and public education. Headquartered in New York City, the ACLU has 53 staffed affiliates in major cities, more than 300 chapters nationwide, and a legislative office in Washington, D.C. The bulk of the annual $40 million budget is raised by contributions from members — 275,000 strong — and gifts and grants from other individuals and foundations.

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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.