Thursday, July 7, 2011

Homeland Security's Homemade PSAs

When I saw that the Department of Homeland Security had announced the winners in its "Stop. Think. Connect." cybersecurity video challenge, I thought it might be interesting. I was disappointed.

This first is the best of the lot, just because it doesn't try too hard and gives usable information. I give it a B

The next, well... seems a little off. Showing like a news report, it seems less about protecting yourself from cyberbullying than it is a warning not to bully others. C

And then there's this. I give it a "WT" F...

Okay, okay. They're just kids. But if they're going to be in advertising, they might as well get used to jerky ad bloggers.

But in all seriousness, this exposes one of the challenges of youth marketing. Some like to think that the best way to reach high school kids is to have kids design their own PSAs. The problem is, they often end up mimicking what they think a "grown up" ad should look like, but don't have the skills or experience to make it hold together.

Like any focus group, you can't just ask them straight out what they want the ad to be. Instead, you have to pull out of them what they need the ad to do, and how they need to be talked to to get through. Then get the professionals involved.

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