NEW YORK: If you’re thinking about using a celebrity in your next public service announcement, think again.
NEW YORK: If you’re thinking about using a celebrity in your next
public service announcement, think again.
VNR provider West Glen Communications’ annual survey of public affairs
directors at TV and radio stations found that the inclusion of
celebrities does not give a PSA a better chance of being aired.
Of the four choices given, 76% of TV stations and 85% of radio stations
cited ’relevance of message’ as the most important factor. The second
most important factor was familiarity with the nonprofit sponsor or its
cause, cited by 16% of TV stations and 11% of radio stations. PSA length
and the use of a celebrity spokesperson were the least important
factors, receiving only nominal response rates.
’Nonprofits think messages will be better received when a celebrity says
them,’ explained West Glen SVP of broadcast services Annette
’But this study proves that a celebrity is not the overriding factor for
stations in airing a PSA. Basically, it’s about substance over
News Generation president Susan Matthews, who recently produced an ANR
featuring singer Christina Aguilera, said that while the findings about
celebrity inclusion in PSAs were generally on the mark, there are
exceptions to the rule.
’If the content is good, it doesn’t matter who’s saying it,’ she
’But celebrities can pump up the numbers, especially if they appeal to a
specific audience or if they have a personal passion for the cause.’
Respondents to the West Glen study also noted their PSA pet peeves.
Among the top problems were receiving dated PSAs (16% TV, 25% radio) and
fielding too many follow-up calls (18% TV, 20% radio). Other annoyances
were unclear ’kill’ dates, PSAs sent in the wrong tape format (TV only),
a lack of background information on the sponsoring organization and
phone/Web site information airing too quickly for audiences to write