Before Blackfish, before PETA’s anti-SeaWorld campaigns, “Shamu” was the beloved (if captive) star of SeaWorld’s family entertainment. So of course it made sense, in the early 1980s, to feature Shamu and various anthropomorphic sea mammal friends in a kid-friendly PSA:
I’m old enough to remember when we weren’t taught to fear overexposure to the sun. As a pale, Anglo-Canadian child in the ‘70s, I believed that the occasional sunburn was just part of summer. By the ‘80s, when I was a teen, I would start trying to get a tan on warmer days in April and May.
And why wouldn’t I have? This was the typical skincare advertising of the day:
Why don’t more amazing film-makers get to make ads about social causes (or just things that bother them)? This, from 1991, is David Lynch’s supremely disturbing TV ad about littering. I would love to have been at that meeting.
It’s like Jim Henson’s Muppets and The Hamburger Patch from McDonaldland had babies, and those babies were some parent’s prescription meds:
What the hell? From Laughing Squid:
This 1983 public service announcement from the Long Island Regional Poison Control Center stars high-pitched talking and singing blue puppet pills who warn of the serious effects of unbottled prescription drugs that look like candy. Incidentally, rapper Busta Rhymes uses lyrics from this PSA in his 1997 song, Dangerous.
Sometimes I really wish I was 30 years older, and could have made PSAs in that era.
Rock The Vote is an American not-for-profit that urges youth to register and vote in elections. Founded in 1990, the organization got its original push from PSAs starring Madonna that were played heavily on MTV.
It appeared the same year as Madonna’s video for the song “Justify My Love” was banned for its sexual content, and two years before her explicit coffee table book, Sex, was published. The young, saucy and silly Madonna of 22 years ago seems ages away from the mature songstress today. (Who was recently booed in New Orleans for endorsing President Obama during a concert.) But the campaign was successful — by 1992, election polls that year showed a 20% increase in youth turnout over the 1988 election, ending a declining trend in young Americans’ democratic participation.
Tomorrow, American voters will decide the direction their country will take for the next four years. One of the major themes of the election has been women’s rights. In the “swing states” that likely will decide which party wins, a Gallup poll demonstrated that male and female voters have very different political priorities. Women’s top concerns included “abortion,” “equal rights/pay/opportunity” and social services, issues that didn’t even show up on the men’s list. Both genders are — obviously — especially concerned with the economy, but “abortion” beat out “jobs” on the women’s list. The mobilization of women voters tomorrow could have a lasting effect on the world.
But 100 years ago, most western democracies did not allow women to vote at all. This collection of early 20th century postcards, curated by Retronaut, illustrates the intense anxiety felt by the male-dominated society about the Suffragette movement that was gaining momentum in Great Britain, the United States, and around the world.
Every once in a while, we look back in time to feature vintage PSAs that remind us how much more sophisticated (or not) social marketing has become over the years.
Today’s flashback is a PSA created as a supplement to the 1980s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It features the eponymous hero, his twin sister She-Ra, and the inevitable comic relief mascot. The siblings deliver a message about inappropriate touching (child sexual abuse) and encourage victims to report it
Yesterday, it finally happened. Somebody challenged me to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. If your internet connection has been broken all summer, it’s this year’s big meme. You can read about it here. To be honest, I felt that the movement had passed its high-water mark when I saw…
Does social media have the power to change the world? The answer is yes. But there are still many obstacles, like censorship and literacy. Three-fifths of the world’s population is not connected. This video from the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia is a animated infographic…
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Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.