to view announcement).
The television spot, dubbed "The Bread Trail," was unveiled less than a week after the foundation and March of Dimes marked National Folic Acid Awareness Week with a ceremonial ringing of the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
The 30-second television spot features a young woman finding a trail of white bread slices as she enters her home. Curious, she follows the trail up a staircase, through hallways and to the bedroom, where she finds her husband smiling at the edge of the bed holding a tray of sandwiches. There is no dialogue during the spot, and as the woman closes the bedroom door, a narrator explains, "Even if you aren’t planning on getting pregnant now you should know that foods rich in folic acid such as white bread and leafy greens can help prevent some birth defects before you even know you’re pregnant."
Slices of white bread are visible nearly continuously over the course of the spot. Logos of the March of Dimes and the Grain Foods Foundation are flashed on the door at the P.S.A. close.
The foundation said the spots are aimed at increasing consumption of foods rich in folic acid.
"Since the Food and Drug Administration mandated folic acid fortification to enriched grains in 1998, neural tube defects, including spina bifida, have declined by 26%," the foundation said. "However, a recent survey shows only 12% of woman perceive enriched white bread as having high levels of folic acid, despite the fact that it is the primary source of folic acid in the diets of Americans."
Also during January, a new Folic Acid for a Healthy Pregnancy Seal was unveiled by the two groups.
January is Birth Defects Prevention Month, and the P.S.A. is the second produced by the G.F.F. and March of Dimes. Last year’s spot featured Susie Castillo, Miss USA 2003. After attracting almost 3 million viewers in January, the P.S.A. did nearly as well in February, airing 133 times with most of the airings in top 50 markets.
Whether or not the spot is aired is left to the discretion of local television station management.
"They have to air a certain number of hours of P.S.A.s each year, but they do not need to run ours," said Judi Adams, president of the Grain Foods Foundation. "This was our most subtle way of appealing to young women who may or may not be thinking about getting pregnant."
Ms. Adams noted that 10 Years of Saving Babies is one of two the foundation is conducting this year. Both campaigns seek to increase consumption of grain-based foods.
"Our target audience is women between 18 and 45 because they are the gatekeepers," Ms. Adams said. "In our fall snacking campaign we wanted to get the message across that whole grains are great and should be consumed three times a day but also that for you and your family, enriched grains are good too and you should feel good about eating them."
Advertisements for the campaign were run in five magazines with readership consistent with the foundation’s target.