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Public Service Announcements

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*insert Linkin Park song here*

public service announcement (PSA), or public service ad, is a message in the public interest disseminated without charge, intending to raise awareness, changing public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue. In the United Kingdom, they are generally referred to as public information films (PIFs); in Hong Kong, they are known as announcements in the public interest (APIs).

Why Many of Them Don’t Deserve Service

  1. Most of them try way too hard to be edgy and scary, but of course, they fail at it. The Real Cost is a good example.
  2. Like the underground short films, they end up showing really disturbing imagery that might include death or excessive violence.
  3. Some even have child violence. There is one in which a child accidentally commits suicide by shooting himself with a gun, and there is another one that shows a classroom of kids getting crushed by a car, and the PSA says their death is your fault.
  4. There were some PSAs where people blew up teenagers, with blood and guts everywhere. This is incredibly disgusting and very cruel, to the point where even Cyber8 would not be crazy enough to make those kinds of videos.
  5. They are just telling people that everything is dangerous, which shows they're wet blankets and don't even realize that pretty much a lot of things are safe and you just have to be careful with the "dangerous" things.
  6. Sometimes, these PSAs can be caused by a local community. An example can be College Music, in which the Study Girl livestream chat for that YouTube channel has people who talked about their stress and mental health issues, which would link to exam season'. (mostly suicide and depression) Thanks to this, College Music had to collab with Samaritans and Vice Media to make the slightly atrocious Study Girl PSA deal with these people who invaded the chat. Keep in mind that the stream started on December 10, 2018, and the PSA was uploaded on April 30, 2019. So chances are the stream's chat became a chat for those who have suicidal thoughts/, which may be possible proof that the chat was responsible for causing the PSA to happen before the latter date. This is serious because College Music now has to deal with suicidal people because of the chat.
  7. The Smurfs PSA (which appears as a GIF above) was actually approved by Peyo's family.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some people only upload PSAs for satirical purposes or as a joke.
  2. Some PSAs can be actually well-done and not cringeworthy, such as NBC's "The More You Know" PSA line.
  3. They can give good lessons about being careful with the environment and the people.
  4. Surprisingly, despite having a macabre tone, many PSAs have decent acting and are realistic, which is pretty convincing and original.
    • Speaking of acting, some ads are informative or heartwarming. For example, there is an ad called "Kathy" in which a girl is crying because her father abandoned her and made the father kill a child because he was driving drunk, and the mother argues about what happened.
  5. There were some comedic family-friendly PSA ads like the Sonic Sez segments from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, NSPCC's "I saw your willy" and Pantosaurus.

Bad PSAs

  1. A PSA for UNICEF of an edited version of the Smurfs intro, which includes animated falling bombs.
  2. A PSA for the Danish Road Safety Council where two cars crash into each other... in reverse.
  3. A PSA for the Delegation to the Security and the Road Traffic where a girl in a car unbuckles her seat belt, and the man, who is driving the car, crashes into another car.
  4. The Entre Mas Rapido Manejas, Mas Rapido Te Matas series of commercials that aired in Costa Rica.
  5. A PSA for Samaritans that College Music and Vice Media collaborated with where Study Girl (One of the characters from College Music) breaks down crying and attempts to kill herself. The PSA feels very wrong since Study Girl is just a girl that studies and has nothing to do with suicidal thoughts (unless you theorized that she is studying forever, which makes her feel like it will never end).
    • Thankfully, YouTube gave out a warning to those that clicked the video.
  6. A PSA for RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) that shows a dog for a few seconds, after which someone off-screen points a gun at the dog's head. Afterward, the narrator says "Please give us a pound,...or we'll have to pull the trigger..."
    • This PSA ended up getting so much backlash that they were forced to tone it down and instead showed a kid asking how much a dog in the window cost before showing how much the dog actually costs.
  7. PSA featuring a drug pusher puppet.
  8. A Japanese PSA called "Kitchen Mother" where a woman injects drugs in her veins and fades away (meaning she died), causing her son to start crying. Poor kid!
  9. "Funniest Home Video", which actually shows real footage of children getting injured via falls, complete with crying sounds.
  10. An anti-speeding PSA from Ireland that first starts with a classroom of kids going on a field trip to park while also showing a man driving a car. Later, while the driver is speeding, the car skids out of control, crashes through a wall into the park, flips out of control, and crushes all of the children. This PSA made the Nostalgia Critic scared of Ireland, and he mentioned that it was so controversial, it was banned from airing before 9 PM.
  11. CiNAR (the company behind Arthur, Caillou and Zoboomafoo) created a PSA for UNICEF against landmines where a young girl and her dog are shown jumping through a grassy hillside. At one point, when they jump and huddle at the same time, an explosion occurs when they disappear, indicating that they fell onto a landmine. We are then treated to a still of realistic drawings depicting children who have injuries a landmine can inflict.[1]
  12. A Canadian PSA where a chef slips on a puddle of grease in a kitchen and gets her face scalded by the boiling pot of water she was carrying. This PSA was the one that made the Nostalgia Critic fear the entire nation of Canada (though he later re-evaluated that fear upon seeing British and Irish PSAs, including the above-mentioned RSPCA and Irish anti-speeding PSAs).
  13. A Greenpeace PSA where a plane crashes into a nuclear power plant and causing a nuclear explosion. This one drew widespread ridicule because of the absurdity of the scenario, namely that the plane just flies in over the water (unless it were hijacked by terrorists 9/11-style), and the fact that nuclear power plants are constructed with reinforced walls to prevent a plane from hitting the reactors.

Trivia

  • Some PSAs have been reviewed by the Nostalgia Critic during his annual Commercials webisodes. Said reviews are often one of the highlights of the webisode.

References

Comments

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