PSA Analysis

Public service announcements are meant as non-profit promotions to engage the public in a certain service that they can partake in to help themselves or others.  Personally I find the public service announcements can come off a bit cheesy at times, and therefore, I think the best public service announcements are those that involve humor.  I came across a group of very entertaining PSAs, while watching the television series The Office. Here is a link…and I promise one of the PSAs will relate to an issue you have experienced on some level and be humorous to you as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiXo78XPdKU

Each of these PSAs are about 10-second spots.  NBC and more specifically the Office is the sponsor of these hilarious spots, as seen by the cast members who are making the announcements.  I chose to focus on one specific the PSA, where the character Jim from the office warns viewers about the dangers of trying to eat six saltines in under a minute in order to fit in.  This can be locates at minute 2:30 of the video.  This PSA goal is to urge others that trying to do “crazy” stunts to fit in are not safe and not worth trying to make friends.  Through humor appeals of this PSA are what gives the spot attractive qualities to the viewer.  The message though humorous and somewhat joking, is effective.  Kids today and in the past do act out and do stupid things to seem “cool” to other kids and fit in.  Therefore this PSA appeals to parents and kids who are trying to fit with an effective message.  The character Jim from the office may also be someone that viewers look up to as a comedic idol; therefore, if he is telling viewers that it is not cool or safe to try and stuff six saltines in your mouth to get attention form others then viewers may be more likely to listen. The message was able to be effective because of the comedic device referred to as satire.  The whole point of these PSAs are to make fun of the seriousness of these typical spots, but furthermore to bring light to some really annoying things that people do which they shouldn’t.  For example, another one of the PSAs discusses the importance of following the instructions on the wedding invitations.  It instructs viewers not to call the bride three days before the wedding and bug her, that all the information needed is on the invitation.  Though that seems like a silly PSA, people do call brides the day before the wedding asking stupid questions that are already addressed on invitations, so it is funny and yet important to offer public service advice to viewers who may do this.

The “Saltine” PSA as addressed does have a clear message, do not do stupid things to fit in such as trying to eat six saltines in under a minute – eat crackers responsibly.  I think that the viewer will listen and laugh to this PSA, and I actually do think they will listen to the message.  I as a viewer, though I do not try to eat as many saltines as possible in under a minute to fit in, did ponder the idea of the stupid things kids, teens, and adults do to fit in and realized that some of those things can be stupid because of the dangerous possible effects.  Being that this is a PSA about eating saltines around a group of friends, I am led to believe this PSA is directed more towards kids and teens between the ages of 9-14. I think it appeals to both boys and girls, but it could probably appeal to boys even up to the ages of 19…because boys tend to act out even at late ages.  This PSA appeals to kids who are looking to fit in or are already in the “IN” crowd but trying to stay in.  Therefore, I think it appeals to a broad range of kids and teens, who go to school, and therefore, are in a place where they are surrounded by others their age for a good amount of the day.  Hopefully this commercial makes teens and parents laugh, but also brings light to the fact that people should be more careful eating crackers…and taking part in silly acts of trying to fit in.

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