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November 15, 2006

RECRUITING IN THE BIG APPLE

Chemistry in Times Square

ACS commercials are airing in the heart of New York City

Linda Wang

LINDA WANG/C&EN
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BE A CHEMIST The JumboTron on Times Square running the ACS announcement.

Between now and Thanksgiving, visitors to New York City's Times Square can view a public service announcement produced by the American Chemical Society. The 15-second spot is running on NBC's new high-definition JumboTron, located on 42nd Street and 7th Avenue. The commercial airs roughly every 20 minutes between 9 AM and 1 AM, except during the NBC Nightly News at 6:30 PM.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in a place we've never been and to reach a diverse audience," says Jane Shure, ACS director of communications. She says she hopes the message will reach young people at the beginning of their careers.

The advertisement features images of scientists doing research and includes the message, "Clean air, pure water, life-saving medicines, forensics and homeland security, clean sources of energy. Make a difference ... be a chemist." It concludes with a link to ACS's career page at chemistry.org/careers.

Linda Han, chief operating officer of Toronto-based Genesys Broadcasting Corp., which produced the commercial, says her company wanted to find new advertisers who fit this year's Thanksgiving theme of informing and educating people.

According to the company, approximately 1.5 million people pass through Times Square on a given day. Tyrone Miller, a Times Square pedestrian whom C&EN found standing in front of the JumboTron, expresses doubt that the message will reach its intended audience. He says there are so many advertisements in Times Square that it's hard to focus on any one thing. "It's overload," he says. "You tend not to look at anything because it's too much."

Nevertheless, C&EN noted many pedestrians looking up at the screen while waiting for the light to change. Mary Kate Woods, a New York City media attorney, says the commercial did in fact catch her eye. She says it never occurred to her that chemists are involved in such things as the country's homeland security efforts.

Traffic agent L. Collins, who was directing cars on 42nd Street, suggested doing something more to draw attention to the screen—perhaps pass out fliers about the American Chemical Society, she says. Shure says that's a good idea, and she is considering it.

The public service announcement runs from Nov. 13 to 26.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society