In 1944, the Ad Council created Smokey Bear in order to inform the American public of the dangers of forest fires. The campaign was so successful that to this day, over sixty years later, 95% of those polled were able to complete Smokey's famous phrase, "Only YOU can prevent forest fires," when prompted with only the first few words. And while it's impossible to say how many fires have actually been prevented thanks to Smokey's efforts, what is clear is the enduring impression the stern-faced bear has left on our nation's cultural consciousness.
In 1967, another kind of fire raged throughout the forests of the American landscape. It spread with wanton disregard for the sanctity of our National Parks and left in its wake a tide of love beads, tie-dyed briefs, and bemused children with uncomfortable questions for their parents. Hence, my ad agency partnered with the United States Parks Authority and together we developed a new, forest-related character and motto to deal with this emerging threat.
Unlike Smokey Bear, Celibate Sasquatch's campaign did not extend beyond the limited run of this poster. Like Smokey, however, Celibate Sasquatch's legacy endures today thanks to continued use of his commanding motto, and Celibate himself inspired a slang term for getting high off smoking tree bark - "sasquatching the celibate" - that was popular in the Santa Monica area from 1968 to 1973.