WINNER: CARTOON NETWORK FOR RESCUING RECESS

It seems a little self-defeating for a children’s programmer to launch an initiative promoting unstructured, outdoor play, but someone in a corner office at Cartoon Network recognized the value of school recess and time spent away from teachers, parents, computer screens, TVs and mobile devices. Cartoon Net’s Rescuing Recess promoted the documented physical and emotional benefits of unstructured school recess, which has become a casualty of budget cuts in many American elementary schools. In the course of two years, Cartoon has raised awareness of the need to have boards of education write policies protecting recess, awarded grants to schools for playground equipment and enlisted parents, teachers and community leaders as playground volunteers. The program’s second annual National Recess Week, held at the start of the school year, helped Cartoon Net get some notable organizations and companies to play along, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cox Communications, the National Parent Teacher Association and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Let’s face it — we could all use some unstructured playtime.

Fast Facts

  • Spanish-language resources were added to the Rescuing Recess program last year.

  • 10,000 Rescuing Recess equipment-only kits were sent to in-need elementary schools in 2007.

  • In its second year, the program nearly doubled its media exposure with more than $2.5 million in media value.


WINNER:
NBC UNIVERSAL FOR GREEN IS UNIVERSAL

You can practically hear the conversation in the upper reaches of NBC Universal: High-level NBCU exec: "Let’s go green!"

Mid-level NBCU exec: "You’re a genius. Green! Who would have thought of that? We’ll do a green NBCU logo."

High-level NBCU exec: "A green logo? Big deal. Get Al Gore on the phone, and tell him to cancel his appointments."

When NBCU was working on plans for its "Green is Universal" initiative (held last Nov. 7-11), Al Gore was, in fact, recruited to guest star in an episode of 30 Rock. And, yes, a green logo was designed. But NBC Universal is a big media company, and its week-long blitz campaign to raise awareness about greenhouse gases and the damage we’re all doing to the environment was correspondingly large in scale: an episode of NBC’s Football Night in America was broadcast with the studio lights switched off; NBCU news shows and cable nets Bravo, Sci Fi, USA and Sundance Channel ran original green-themed content; Universal Theme Parks presented Green is Universal events; and NBCU announced that it was building a West Coast headquarters designed to be LEED Silver certified. Like we said — large scale.

Fast Facts

  • A "Household Hazardous Waste" event at Universal Studios collected 143,000 pounds of waste from consumers and employees.

  • Green is Universal-related content and promotions reached 100 million consumers, according to NBCU.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Atlantic Broadband for Operation Mail Call — Atlantic Broadband brightened the wartime experience of U.S. servicemen and -women by providing free broadband to any customer with an immediate family member serving in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Weather Channel for Forecast Earth Summit — The Weather Channel, which was covering the environment back when penguins lived in Antarctica and green was just a color, staged an environmental literacy summit in D.C. for high school "eco-ambassadors."

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