A Tale of Two PSAs

taleoftwopsasFrom October 19 – 25, today’s most popular television programs are shining the spotlight on volunteering and service. VolunteerMatch staff members will be reviewing a few of the programs here on Engaging Volunteers.

Last night, while watching Lie To Me (FOX) and Castle (ABC), I saw two very short PSAs during each of the programs.

The first, an iParticipate branded PSA during Lie To Me, featured two actors unrelated to the show. A river rushed backwards as the two talked about participation. Being fully prepped about the EIF initiative, I knew the context of the broad message; the two friends I was watching with, however, were confused, asking me why the actors were talking about environmental causes rather than volunteering.  Rather than using the 10 seconds to deliver a strong call to action, the PSA generally confused us. Furthermore, it didn’t motivate us to figure out what the movement was all about.

In contrast, I had a very different reaction to the volunteering promotion during Castle. While certainly not as polished as the previous PSA, this clip featured the actor of the show talking concretely about volunteer work and directed viewers to www.abettercommunity.com, an ABC site that highlights good works.

While only 10 seconds, and still not as personal or inspiring as it could have been, the PSA delivered a clear call to action, and made all three of us nod in agreement about how we can all make a difference.

Perhaps this reveals my sentimental nature, but all I want out of my 10 second PSA is a strong call to action, a good passionate story and a connection to the show I’m watching. Volunteering can be such an empowering cause — why not make it sound that way?