Dec 27, 2010 - 09:40 PM

A comeback for PSAs?

All signs point to…

With the decline of broadcast television and the rise of on-demand (i.e., commercial-free) programming, can the old tried-and-true public service announcement be making a more-than-humble comeback?  The answer is “yes.”  Marketers with a social message should consider integrating this valuable PR tool into their media mix.

The reason why is the rise of cable.  Cable systems will significantly increase your pickup, including in the top 25 markets.  Another factor that favorably impacts the PSA is, for better or worse, our current recession.  More commercial airtime has opened up in unsold blocks.  As a result, more blocks are being filled with PSAs.

If you are considering PSAs, the best topics to develop are health and safety.  Calls to community action through volunteerism are also good topics because of the favorable halo effect. 

Always discuss placement with your media reps.  PSAs do run at odd hours, but going by the book, PSAs run ROS or “run of schedule” which should include all time periods.  Make sure that’s stipulated in your contract. 

PSAs have life spans.  You can probably count on a good six-month usage period with your heaviest hits occurring in the first 60-90 days.  But an integrated marketing approach will support the effort via social media, outreach to the press with targeted messaging for discrete audiences, and, of course, via the web and e-mail.  That should produce maximum impact for the message and your brand.