A public service announcement (PSA) is stated by the Federal Communications Commission as any pronouncement that is passed to the public for their interest on social issues by the media without any charges (Du & Plessis 8). These announcements originate from the government or non-governmental organizations and target the cause of general public interest. The other names that are used for PSAs are public service ad and in the UK they are referred as public information films. Their objective is to promote activities and programs by the government and non-governmental organizations. A PSA is not only composed of the message itself but all the effort that goes into putting up an advertisement. There is the design the painting and the wording among other things in the case of printed ad and there is the wording the voice and the beats and the song in case one has to be used in the case of a radio broadcast. It is in order for there to be some degree of creativity to be utilized in order for the ad to catch the attention of the audience. All these activities must be completely free for the ad to qualify to be a PSA.
In contrast to these advertisements, the other advertisements are paid adverts that are not normally used to promote the actions and activities of the government (Jones 10). Paid advertisements would in addition have different objectives like promoting a product or service by a private company. Such adverts are meant to enable a specific company has a competitive edge over other companies in the same field. The kind of language that they would use in these adverts is going to be superfluous, and the information that is put across is not necessarily accurate. At the end of the day, they are going to create awareness for their products boost their sales and therefore increase their profits over rival companies.
The PSAs started being used during the Second World War when the United States joined the war and became an active participant (Poonia & Virendra 31). It is one time when the citizens, business people and people from all walks of life felt the spirit of nationalism. Most were willing to enlist in the war and provide whatever support that they could be offered to their respective countries. It was clear that they could not all of them get into the battlefield nor could they manufacture or supply weapons that were being used in the war. They were ready to provide material emotional psychological and any other support that one could think off. Where possible they provided material support to the soldiers heading to or already in the battlefield. There was this feeling that the war was a matter of great public concern.
In all this there was one group that played a significant role in the war and that is the media in terms of the newspapers, radio stations and all the other companies that could be able to get information to the public in one form or the other. These other forms were the use of road signs posters and any medium like messages and letter writing that could pass the information needed from one point to the other or still enable the audience located in various spots to access the information. The one important factor that was peculiar was the provision of free advertisement or announcement services through which the government could offer information to the public. The war was inconveniencing to the public in a number of ways like being expensive and even disruptive to their day to day normal activities. This time more than ever the governments needed all the support that they could get from its citizens. It marked the beginning or the inception of the PSA and its importance was realized.
The stage was now set for the use and spread of PSAs by not only the government but also by the non-governmental organizations. A number of other activities and programs were to be later carried out which were deemed to be of public interest. Information on health matters like the steps to use in protecting oneself from some epidemics, scheduled dates for certain vaccinations, major rallies by the government were all put forth to the public through such channels.
The American PSA that has been selected for this study is one that is dealing with the military services to assist them in recruiting skilled people to join the armed forces. For the government realizes that it needs to find the right candidates for the military job. The more the people interested in military services, the more they would be likely to find not only the skilled, but the one interested in truly working in this particular area. What better mode to use other than PSAs to create awareness and brainwash them into wanting to serve the country in the military.
The PSA in question was the product of Goodwill Communications a company that was founded by Bill Goodwill (Goodwill 4). This company has a number of PSAs to its credit and the founder himself has a wide experience having worked for different firms in the areas recruitment, advertising and PSAs. Bill Goodwill started his career with Grey Advertising and was later to become a consultant before starting his company (6).
Goodwill Communications was established in the year 1983 and dealt in supply and assessment of public service advertising promotions all types of media (Goodwill 2). Among its clients there is a US Coast Guard, Navy Recruiting, Air Force and Marine corps. In addition, the other clients are Army National Guard and recent additions to the list are the US Department of Defense, Air National Guard and the Joint Recruiting Advertising Program (JRAP).
The issue in question is recruitment in the military services. The people to be employed in the military have the noble task of fighting for the country. They are meant to go out and put their lives on the line in the battlefield for the lives of the rest of the American citizens. These are among the few people who are authorized to use lethal force, and firearms in the course of their profession with the prime duty of protecting the interests of the state or some of its citizens. Their prime duty is defined as the provision of security for the state and the citizens implying that if they fail in their role then it can have catastrophic results. Hence, therefore it follows from this that the people to be recruited for this role of national importance have to be selected through a vetting system. A nationwide campaign needs to be carried out to encourage such candidates from all over the nation to turn up for the same jobs.
The military PSA to be described was taken from the following site https://www. youtube. com/watch? v= zOEjnq6nDTc and was running for 4 minutes and 25 seconds. It is coming up as a song in support of the military and this context its details are targeting the ones who are in Iraq. It is using a combination of the song, pictures and words to get its message across to the audience. Their audiences are the citizens of the United States and all the other stakeholders whose children, brothers, sisters, fathers, friends and well-wishers are taking part in the war in Iraq. The PSA is calling for the support of the military in Iraq and at one time it appears to say that the war is not necessary and is making an appeal to the concerned authorities to call of the war and bring their people back home.
The PSA starts by noting that the every passing day the men and women are sent to Iraq, and they leave behind their families and friends as they proceed to the war zone. There is a picture of a person appearing to be a parent holding a placard containing the portrait of their son calling him to be brought back home. A snap that follows shows a couple and many other families gathered that are seeing off the members of the military who are heading to Iraq. The story line goes on that they are leaving their loved ones to wonder where they are safe or if they have been hurt and at this juncture we see a snap of the military personnel who look stressed wondering how their families are doing back home. It shifts straight to show them in the battlefield with the words of the song at this time calling for emotional support to help them stay strong. We see a snap of a military personnel in the field holding a kid showing their human touch perhaps thinking about his family back home. They miss important events in their loved ones like their birthdays, graduations, marriages, baptisms and many other events that are quite significant and memorable. They miss seeing their children growing up, and they just happen to get that they have become certain people in life without being involved in their character formation. The picture of a soldier bidding goodbye to his wife and their young son and, the son’s teddy bear can be seen on his back followed by the note that the soldiers are losing their lives, body parts and friends. It is further acknowledged that children are losing their parents. A picture of an emotional kid who is crying comes up next being consoled by his father. A soldier whose hand was lost is being met by an emotional man who is crying uncontrollably and leaning on the soldier’s chest. The next picture shows a soldier who appears not in service and is seen to have lost his legs. There is a soldier in a pensive mood smoking his cigar followed by the words that this war is completely unnecessary. The wording goes further to state that the war is about pride and people being arrogant and poses the question, how many should be killed before the realize that it is wrong and next comes the question whether the 32, 973killed is not enough to stop it. From this the snaps that come next is one where the soldiers are having shades on perhaps to disguise their sadness and a lineup of coffins in a plane ready for transportation or having arrived at their destination covered in United States flags. There are a number of straight lines of soldiers’ graves and a lineup of coffins awaiting burial. Then comes the appeal assuming that the message has been delivered requesting for every single one to be sent home for all of their loved ones. A snap of a soldier aiming his rifle at his target and then a group of family and friends who appear to be waiting for the arrival of their loved ones back home at the airport. The pilot in the cockpit is happy I think to be heading back home at last. They have arrived at last there is a warm hug from the wife and daughter. The soldiers are posing for a memorable snap after getting back with a placard showing their faces to complete the picture. Soldiers were carrying a coffin with words calling for God’s comfort to the soldiers and their friends inscribed on the front. Two snaps of a happy mood one for a hug on arrival at the airport and the next showing the soldiers with goodies and a ‘ Father Christmas’ at the center. The next words appear to acknowledge the fact that the war is not going to end soon and therefore calling on everybody so as to get involved in any way that they can to reach out to their families. It is shown that this can be done by sending supplies, phones and toothbrushes and other items. There is an additional appeal calling on everybody not to forget these people indicating that they are the reason we are where we are. There as a snap of a soldier holding his daughter dearly and the next one showing him with his wife, son and daughter. The scene changes suddenly and now shows two soldiers with their rifles ready to shoot waiting on the enemy and then a kind of a guard of honor. There is a snap of soldiers with their rifles in a jovial mood. In a one of the streets in Iraq, we see four soldiers and the rubble as a sign of war appearing in the background. Towards the end now we see a soldier in casual clothing addressing an audience that can not be seen and a poster with a number of snaps in the center and the inscriptions ‘ freedom alliance support our troops.’ Finally, there is an appeal to keep all these people in our thought and prayers making the end of the military PSA.
The combination of the wording, the song and the snaps come out as an effective way of raising awareness to the audience. The emotional pictures are going deeper than the words themselves although the words appear to have been carefully selected to achieve the desired effect. From the beginning to the end the PSA tells a short story starting with the soldiers leaving, then the deaths and the injuries and burials and then finally with them coming back home. The majority of people would want the war to come to an end after taking time to watch the PSA short movie clip.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
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Goodwill B. Effective Public Service Ad Campaigns Goodwill Communications
Jones P. L. Public Service Announcement Campaigns: Activities and Financial Obligations, 2006. Print.
Poonia, Virendra. Advertising Management. New Delhi: Gennext Publication, 2010. Print.