Jeff Boal '84 Crafts PSAs
If you’ve seen one of the “Tips from Former Smokers,” a stop-smoking campaign from the Centers for Disease Control, or if you’ve watched Alvin Grimes, the passionate air collector who pushes air quality for the American Lung Association, then Washington and Lee alumnus Jeff Boal’s company, PlowShare Group, has found you.
A 1984 graduate of W&L, Jeff started the PlowShare Group in 1994 after a stint with the Ad Council. His first client was the American Red Cross, which followed him from the Ad Council. Today, PlowShare is the second-largest distributor of public service announcements (PSAs) in the country.
In addition to the CDC, the American Lung Association and the Red Cross, PlowShare clients include the March of Dimes, the Wounded Warrior Project and dozens more.
Jeff’s company helps get their announcements seen and heard, whether on television, the Internet or the side of a New York City bus. In the case of the CDC, that $54 million anti-smoking campaign generated almost 200,000 additional calls to an 800 number and 400,000 additional visitors to the www.smokefree.gov website.
The American Lung Association chose a humorous approach to the subject of air pollution and lung disease. In a story that described the campaign, Jeff said that it “represents a unique shift in thinking for social issue communications. Humor is a great way to reach all audiences, and it’s sometimes tough to be funny when it comes to health charity messages.” You can see what Jeff means by watching some of the PSAs on the AirCollector channel on YouTube.
As PlowShare has developed, Jeff has established the company’s reliance on technology as a critical element in PSA distribution and media monitoring. That gives the company’s clients smarter choices when determining how to get their messages in front of the public.