Old dating public service message
"But it really takes something extra to break through now because so many people are using this format." The first PSAs were introduced in the 1940s by the nonprofit Ad Council and were all about propping up the war effort with slogans like "Loose lips sink ships" and "America at war needs women at work." The group went on to launch some of the most identifiable ad campaigns in history, created pro bono by the country's top agencies and financed by brands.
They include Smokey the Bear and his "Only you can prevent forest fires" tagline, the United Negro College Fund's "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" and the U. Department of Transportation's "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." One recent campaign, dubbed "Love Has No Labels," has turned out to be one of the most measurably popular.
The campaign promoting acceptance and inclusion—created by R/GA and backed by major marketers including Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble along with associations like the Anti-Defamation League and the AARP—has amassed more than 110 million views via social media.
In a crafty distribution move, the Ad Council launched the PSA exclusively on do-gooder site Upworthy, where it almost immediately started breaking the Internet.
The only difference is, they're now going viral, and reaching more consumers than ever.
"They're a simple way to communicate a message—a bare-bones, straightforward approach—and that's why PSAs have stood the test of time," says Tim Staples, co-founder of Shareability, which recently produced a mock PSA about the "dangers" of selfie sticks for Pizza Hut.
It is now being rolled out to other public services (pdf).
On February 24, 2016, NBC announced that it would launch a new Saturday morning E/I block named after the campaign, programmed by Litton Entertainment and replacing its in-house NBC Kids block.