Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Essay: Are Public Service Announcements Effective?

What types of public service announcements do you know? What do you think about the usefulness of these announcements? How would you improve them? A public service announcement is a special type of a message, which is aimed at the solution of the definite social problem. Public service announcements are supposed to solve the relevant problems, which bother our society. We can see these messages on TV, in the Internet, newspapers, on the billboards and hear them listening to the radio. Many people question the objective effectiveness of public service announcements, because they do not notice the solution of the existing social problems. I will analyze this topic attentively in order to understand whether these social messages are useful.

To begin with, I would like to pay attention to the history of public service announcements. The first form of the announcements of this kind appeared during World War 1 when people were encouraged to join the army. Uncle Sam was watching at you from every poster saying: “I want you for US army”.

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Naturally, young men were affected by the informative and persuasive value of this poster and they joined the army eagerly. The history repeated during World War 2. It was important to unite the nation for the struggle against Hitler and his allies.

In the peaceful period, public service announcements changed their content and message. They embraced such topics as the necessity of the protection of forests, the importance of the seat belts, etc. Nowadays, public service announcements are completely different. They help people remember about such problems as illiteracy, AIDS, domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse, etc.

In my opinion, it is hard to say whether public service announcements are effective for the solution of the urgent problems. Doubtless, the messages of this kind help with the solution of the definite problems, but they cannot be its main tool. The main idea of an announcement is to inform people about the problem and its cause and effect. These announcements are useful to young people. When they see various messages of this kind everywhere, they remember them. Many young people even follow them though a teenager’s ‘duty’ is to break all rules and neglect the norms of the human society. Public service announcements are effective when they are repeated frequently. When you hear that you can prevent sexually transmitted diseases with the help of condoms, you will use them, because you recall this information automatically.

In my opinion, the effectiveness of public service announcements is overestimated. I agree that they can inform about the existence of the definite problem, its cause and effect, but they will not help with its solution. When you see an announcement about the harm of smoking, alcohol and drugs, you will not give up smoking. You will not consume less beer. You will not give up your dream to try marijuana. To my mind, the effectiveness of these messages depends on the problem. I will definitely disagree that announcements can help cope with the bad habits. Nevertheless, I suppose that the messages about contraception are very persuasive. No wonder, the number of teenage pregnancies has reduced in the developed countries, because young people have access towards information and condoms. Then, the messages about the protection of wildlife and homeless animals are also effective, because people have begun to appreciate and care about animals. For example, they donate much money to the development of various shelters for animals. They purchase food and help homeless animals survive in the urban environment.

I guess that public service announcements are effective when they are addressed to the definite audience. It is important to create a high-quality and persuasive message, which will be interesting to the definite social group. Although some problems cannot be solved with the help of these announcements, there are many issues, which can be defeated in this way.

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