PSA: “Don’t Jerk and Drive”


Why do so many public safety announcements have to be serious – and usually very tedious as well? Of course, PSAs should be educational and informative, but they don’t have to be boring. After all, if the campaign is compelling, and even a little humorous, the viewer is much more likely to recall the campaign and even practice the safety tips.

That was the thought process behind South Dakota’s recent winter driving PSA titled “Don’t Jerk and Drive.” The catchy phrase was presented using an animated video that teaches viewers to drive safely when hitting a patch of ice on the road. Instead of “jerking” the wheel, the video illustrates how drivers can safely steer cars back onto the road smoothly, thus avoiding accidents. Great concept – great instruction and it outperformed other PSA campaigns by 25 to 1.

Unfortunately, the state’s Department of Public Safety decided to pull the ad from television when there were too many comments about “jerking and driving.” Come on – take the joke – and keep up the good work instructing drivers on safely navigating icy roads this winter.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of PSAs in advertising. Why are these important?
  2. Poll students: What PSA campaigns can they recall? Why are those memorable?
  3. Show South Dakota’s Web site and video:
  4. To illustrate other creative PSA campaigns, show Virgin Airline’s safety video:
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a topic for a PSA campaign and design a creative campaign that will get people’s attention and improve safety.

Source: Ad Week

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