NEW YORK—In an effort to raise the individual American's awareness of and interest in advertising, the National Advertising Board launched a $32-million "Advertising: Get The Message!" campaign in major markets across the country Monday.

"From lifesaving drugs to new diet beverages, advertising keeps you informed about the products and services you want to buy," a spokeswoman said in a 30-second spot titled "Keep An Eye Out For Ads." "But advertising can't work for you if you don't pay attention!"

The commercials, in heavy rotation on network and cable television, end with a helpful tip for viewers: "To get messages from advertisers in your area, open up your local newspaper, turn on your radio, or continue to watch this channel."

The NAB campaign includes print, radio, television, and billboard ads.

A print ad appearing in 15 leading women's magazines this month reads, "Whether you need a new, improved detergent with stain-dissolving power or a low-interest equity loan for making home improvements, advertising can help. Why not look at some advertising today?"

The new campaign targeted American males, as well.

"You're a man," an advertisement in Men's Health read. "Take your life into your own hands—with advertising. If you're looking for sporting goods, hair products, or pornography, ads will bring you closer to your goal. Advertising—get the message!"

According to NAB spokeswoman Alaina Gray, the goal of the print advertisements is twofold.

"Primarily, we want to raise awareness of our new 'Get The Message' slogan," Gray said. "But we also hope that, by drawing attention to our ads, we'll attract more interest to all ads. That's why many of our print ads urge consumers to look to the right and left of our advertisement for other advertisements."

Many consumers have taken the NAB's new message to heart.

An NAB billboard in Raleigh, NC.

"Just the other day, I was wondering what video game I would buy next," said Omaha, NE resident John Cruise, who saw an NAB commercial in the current issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. "I looked at a few of the other full-page color advertisements in the magazine I was holding, and sure enough, the ads made me want a whole bunch of games."

Christina Williamson, former vice president of Chiat/Day and current NAB director, said the organization labored for six months to create their "Get The Message!" message.

"As you can imagine, we focus-grouped this campaign extensively, and we saw some really positive results," Williamson said. "These days, people are looking for messages, so the word 'message' in our 'Get The Message' slogan really resonated with our target demographic—consumers of goods and services. We expect the new campaign to be even more successful than our 2004 campaign, 'Advertising: Look At It.'"

In a full-page "Open Letter To American Consumers" in Sunday's New York Times, Williamson wrote that "despite the massive efforts of advertising agencies to analyze and exploit human psychology, advertising is more art than science."

"Advertising livens up television programs and brightens magazines, neither of which would exist without advertising," Williamson wrote. "Innovative advertising forms like the magalogue, the infomercial, and advertainment are breathing new life into the industry. If you're hungry for information or looking for a quick laugh, look no further than advertising."