Posted tagged ‘PSA’

Children See, Children Do

September 5, 2010

Every once in a while a commercial comes along that stays with me long after I have switched off the television. Such a commercial is, more often than not, a public service announcement (PSA). A PSA has an intrinsic quality which appeals to me through the sheer force of its message.  The consumer in me is at ease while watching a PSA making it easier to be drawn to one. The situation contrasts sharply when I view an ad for a branded product. In latter case, I imagine a long-range radar antenna installed on the crown of my head critically detecting product features, benefits, and possibly estimating costs. It is no wonder my posts include more PSAs and non-profit ads than any other category.

I saw NAPCAN’s commercial weeks ago. It is a disturbing clip of children emulating actions of adults.  I do not have a list of criteria to check off when selecting a print ad, a commercial, or a spot for my blog. The measure I use is really the ad’s capacity to inhabit my thoughts. The 90 second NAPCAN spot fits the bill.

Benign acts of using a public telephone and waiting behind the yellow line at a railway station gradually descend into pernicious behavior. Scenes in the spot depict cruelty to animals, road rage, racism, verbal and physical abuse, and worse. The pattern when mimicked by children takes on a magnified hue that is deeply unsettling.  It is upsetting to watch a girl trample a cigarette end with her foot as she follows her mother off of an escalator. There is a sense of impenetrable sadness when you see innocence lost with a flip of a little finger.

The clip ends on a positive note with a man helping a woman gather her spilled groceries. The children join in. The message is powerful and is put across in no uncertain terms.

The commercial, developed by DDB, Sydney, was launched in 2006.

WARNING: You may find this public awareness commercial disturbing.

The Power of One

March 26, 2010

Long before Twestival, there was television.

With the time for Earth Hour fast approaching, I’ve seen the number of # earth hour tweets increase exponentially on my Twitter account. As I go through the tweets I realize that long before hashtags, protest groups on Facebook, and online social change networks – in general before social media for social change became the norm; television was largely the broadcast medium for Public Service announcements (PSAs).

A PSA in the traditional sense is usually the result of a collaborative effort between an ad agency and a non-profit or a government outfit with its primary goal being ‘awareness for a cause’. Over the years, there have been numerous memorable public interest campaigns. The Power of One, produced in 1993 by the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation in cooperation with the Earth Communications Office is one such outstanding creation.

It’s a montage of compelling images interspersed with powerful words that highlight the strength of one person’s conviction – of making a difference and creating change.

I think it is unequivocally a masterpiece on an artistic level. In terms of statistics, how far was the reach and how deep the impact is something I’d like to find more about…

Here take a look. Then switch off the computer for Earth hour, please.


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